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Meryl Streep plays the matriarch of a dysfunctional Oklahoma family in "August: Osage County," an adaptation of Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Courtesy The Weinstein Company
DVD review: Overacting dooms ‘August: Osage County’
First Published Apr 07 2014 09:00 am • Last Updated Apr 07 2014 04:14 pm

Grade • C+

DVD • There are lots of family secrets uncovered in "August: Osage County," but only one real mystery: How did Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts get Oscar nominations for some of the most shrill and overcooked acting in their careers.

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Streep plays Violet, the tart-tongued matriarch of an Oklahoma family, whose pill-popping has driven away oldest daughter Barbara (Roberts). When Barbara’s father Beverly (Sam Shepard) disappears and is later found dead, the family reunited for a funeral and a family dinner full of screaming and recriminations.

There are some good low-key performances here, notably Julianna Nicholson as Barbara’s quietly suffering sister Ivy, but they get lost in the sound and fury Streep and Roberts churn up.

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