Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 45 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 45
  2. Negative: 1 out of 45
  1. Reviewed by: Jamie S. Rich
    Jan 9, 2014
    91
    August: Osage County goes to some heavy places, upturning long-buried resentments and secrets. It can be a lot to take at times, but Letts’ knack for dark humor, and Streep’s flawless delivery of the same, allows for levity when the tale is at its most bleak.
  2. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Sep 13, 2013
    90
    This two-ton prestige pic won’t win the hearts of highbrow critics or those averse to door-slamming, plate-smashing, top-of-the-lungs histrionics, but as a faithful filmed record of Letts’ play, one could have scarcely hoped for better.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jan 9, 2014
    88
    For those who appreciate fiery dialogue delivered by fine actors, August: Osage County is heaven-sent.
  4. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jan 9, 2014
    83
    There's a pervasive cruelty, a condescension toward common folks like the Westons that's frequently off-putting, even as we're laughing.
  5. Reviewed by: Neil Smith
    Jan 14, 2014
    80
    This classy adap of a much-garlanded stage play will appeal to discerning audiences who can tolerate unpleasant characters with potty mouths if they're played by Oscar winners.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 28, 2013
    80
    Family dysfunction has seldom been as flamboyant—or notable for its performances and flow of language—as it is in this screen version of the Tracy Letts play.
  7. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Sep 13, 2013
    80
    A vastly enjoyable theatrical banquet, if perhaps not a profound one, is served up in a bit of a rush here, as if they can't wait to get the next sitting in. But you certainly don't come away feeling hungry.
  8. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jan 8, 2014
    78
    August: Osage County is not for the timid or those who prefer family reunions without histrionics. This film is like a long day’s journey into another damn day.
  9. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jan 13, 2014
    75
    August: Osage County is all about the acting. That makes sense because the storyline doesn't offer much that could be considered new or remarkable.
  10. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jan 9, 2014
    75
    So, no, August: Osage County isn’t all that original, and sometimes it’s just a lot of yelling. But it does rouse itself to a powerful fury every so often, and Letts knows an audience’s dirty little secret: We love the bloodlust of a family feeding on itself.
  11. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Jan 9, 2014
    75
    August: Osage County is easier to watch on screen, and maybe for that we should be grateful.
  12. Reviewed by: Susan Wloszczyna
    Dec 28, 2013
    75
    If the boozy epic confrontations of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" or "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" are your definition of a good time, then this is the place to be.
  13. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 25, 2013
    75
    Streep’s performance has been criticized for being too theatrical, but that’s off the mark: The character she’s playing is supposed to be theatrical. She’s a woman playing a part – the ravaged matriarch.
  14. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Dec 24, 2013
    75
    The movie is red meat for anyone who thrives on a certain brand of punchy, in-your-face emotional shock value. Yet the pull of what happens on screen came, for me, with a major qualification: I went with it, but I didn't totally buy it. The film is a contraption that spreads its darkness like whipped butter on a roll.
  15. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Dec 17, 2013
    75
    The brilliant screenplay by Mr. Letts sets up the narrative story of the Weston clan in a carefully constructed series of episodes in which the family history is finally revealed. There’s great acting in every frame, but by the end of the ordeal, the viewer may be too exhausted to care.
  16. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Sep 13, 2013
    75
    A distinctly uneven but imminently watchable theatrical showcase in which cinematic and stagy devices go head to head with no clear winner.
  17. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Sep 13, 2013
    70
    Wells directs the actors smoothly enough in individual scenes, but his work lacks the cohesiveness to really pull all the characters together and convey their shared past.
  18. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Sep 13, 2013
    70
    It’s Roberts’ deepest, strongest, liveliest film work.
  19. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jan 10, 2014
    63
    August: Osage County is the movie equivalent of Denny's Lumberjack Slam breakfast. If eggs, bacon, and toast aren't enough, throw in some ham, some sausage, pancakes, and hash browns. And then throw in more ham.
  20. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Jan 9, 2014
    63
    The film feels claustrophobic at times, and stagy. It helps that the supporting cast is uniformly good.
  21. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 28, 2013
    63
    The acting styles of Streep and Roberts, both Golden Globe nominees, don’t exactly mesh, but they’re a hoot.
  22. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Dec 24, 2013
    63
    Osage County does offer up one almost-heartbreaking moment. But it’s so icky that, like the rest of the film, you kind of want to wash it out of your mouth — with supermarket Merlot — rather than savor it.
  23. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Dec 19, 2013
    63
    There is still enough venom spilled in August: Osage County to make this drama relatable to anyone who’s suffered through a wildly dysfunctional family dinner — and who hasn’t, especially at this time of year?
  24. Reviewed by: David Lee Dallas
    Dec 18, 2013
    63
    What works about the film can largely be attributed to the original text, which is full of cruel twists and savage blows that Tracy Letts wisely retains for the screen.
  25. Reviewed by: Tom Huddleston
    Jan 21, 2014
    60
    If you enjoy improbable plot twists, overcooked dialogue and Hollywood legends champing on scenery, this adaptation is a highly entertaining slice of American Gothic.
  26. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Jan 20, 2014
    60
    It takes a while to get going and never outstrips its theatrical origins but gets by on great actors working through meaty scenes. See it for Streep vs Redford alone.
  27. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jan 10, 2014
    60
    Not, in other words, a happy story. It is not a story of redemption or healing or finding happiness amid the despair. It is about reaping what one sows. But, damn, those performances. Damn, that dialog. Damn, that's good stuff.
  28. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Dec 28, 2013
    60
    If you embrace the overkill, you’ll enjoy it. But if extravagance isn’t your thing, move swiftly on to something lighter and more digestible.
  29. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Dec 24, 2013
    60
    August: Osage County, however, bitterly funny in some places and numbingly earnest in others, is just too much Streep. But all is not lost. Some of her fellow actors are resourceful enough to reconstruct themselves after being obliterated.
  30. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Dec 18, 2013
    60
    What ran more than three hours onstage now barely cracks two, and the cutting can be felt in the way the often gut-busting bad behavior is privileged over psychological credibility.
  31. Reviewed by: Ben Kenigsberg
    Dec 24, 2013
    58
    It’s not so much a mangled movie as it is an unfulfilled, forgettable one: unnecessary for anyone who’s seen the play, yet sufficiently watered-down that newcomers won’t be able to tell what all the fuss was about.
  32. 50
    Although a couple of performances here may earn Oscar nominations, by the time you’ve sat through the wreckage, you’re left with the sense that this really must have worked better onstage.
  33. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jan 9, 2014
    50
    August: Osage County is at times affecting (Cooper’s tender moment with Cumberbatch, who has slept through an important event, is especially so), but mostly it’s all about actors acting and never letting us forget they’re doing so.
  34. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Jan 9, 2014
    50
    A sometimes wickedly funny but ultimately sour, loud, draining tale of one of the most dysfunctional families in modern American drama. And that’s saying a lot.
  35. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 9, 2014
    50
    See the play sometime. It cooks; the movie's more of a microwave reheat.
  36. 50
    In the all-star movie adaptation of August: Osage County, another play that holds the stage with fang and claw feels less momentous onscreen.
  37. Reviewed by: Laremy Legel
    Sep 13, 2013
    48
    What’s truly unnerving about the whole thing is how good certain scenes are, and how great a few of the performances come off, especially Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep – they’re doing amazing work, only it’s the equivalent of building a lovely home on a foundation of quicksand.
  38. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Sep 13, 2013
    42
    August: Osage County is a film of big, wild gestures, plate smashing, screaming and tears, but not nuance, and it all has the effect of leaving one deadened, not moved.
  39. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Jan 6, 2014
    40
    As you watch, you don't think of the decline of American civilization; you think that these are good actors giving themselves a hell of a workout in a misbegotten movie. [6 Jan. 2014, p.72]
  40. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Dec 28, 2013
    40
    August: Osage County is a mess, an overcooked movie-star stew that never quite coheres into a movie.
  41. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 26, 2013
    40
    August: Osage County falls into an uncanny valley between melodrama and camp, failing to achieve either heights of operatic feeling or flights of knowing parody. The jokes are too labored, too serious.
  42. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Dec 26, 2013
    40
    Despite the story's melodramatic contrivances the creation of characters we actually care about is beyond this film's capabilities.
  43. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Dec 22, 2013
    40
    The cast is too big, the setting too obviously stagey, the issues too diffuse, the personalities too simple.
  44. Reviewed by: Catherine Shoard
    Sep 13, 2013
    40
    It's bracing, but it does feel closer to panto than melodrama, more exhausting than illuminating.
  45. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jan 9, 2014
    25
    August: Osage County was a three-hour play that felt like two hours. It has been made into a two-hour movie that feels like a month.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 119 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 41
  2. Negative: 7 out of 41
  1. Dec 25, 2013
    10
    Meryl Streep proves once again that she is the best. She was the best of the movie, Julia was also good, the whole cast was amazing. You really have to go and see this movie. Full Review »
  2. Jan 24, 2014
    1
    The quality of the stars in this movie and their acting was the ONLY reason this movie even rated a 1. It was everything I could not to walk out on this horrible assault. I kept hoping it would turn into something worthwhile. HUGE wast of time and money!!! Wish I could erase this movie from my memory. It was just terrible!!! Full Review »
  3. Lyn
    Jan 13, 2014
    9
    If you enjoy a well-acted, dysfunctional family saga -- and don't mind a "talky" movie that obviously was a play -- this film is intensely exhilarating. I feel the accusations of "scenery chewing" are unfair considering the serious themes. Heck, even Julia Roberts acts to the point where that vertical vein in her forehead stands out! Streep is a wonder, in a part that reminds me of an older version of Martha in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." There are a lot of great laughs as well from the excellent cast, and Margo Martindale, in particular, is never less than real for one second. Full Review »