As the year draws to a close, the countdown to the Oscars begins in earnest. One film that looks set to collect several nominations is August: Osage County, which will soon be released in cinemas around the world.
The movie stars Meryl Streep as Violet, an acid-tongued, pill-addicted Oklahoma matriarch. Much of the Oscars interest in the picture has surrounded her performance. But in many ways the film is also the story of Barbara, Violet’s eldest daughter, played by Julia Roberts in what many think is her best performance since Erin Brokovich in 2001.
The screenplay is by Tracy Letts, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who has adapted his own work for the cinema. He is no stranger to dysfunction: his last work for the screen was Killer Joe, a pitch-black comedy of truly twisted family relations, and he tells Tom Brook that he has drawn on his own experiences in August: Osage County.
“It’s an amalgam of reality, fiction, imagination,” he says. “It’s hard to know where the truth stops and invention begins.”