YEAR: 2013

ROLE:  Beverly Weston (patriarch)

DIRECTOR:  John Wells

US Theatrical Release:  CHRISTmas Day

Plot Summary

It is a furnace-hot August in 2007 in the small, mid-western town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, USA, sixty miles northwest of Tulsa. Beverly Weston, alcoholic and former poet, has mysteriously disappeared after hiring a Cheyenne Native American as a live-in housekeeper for his pill-popping, chain-smoking wife Violet. With the disappearance of the patriarch, three generations of the dysfunctional Weston family gather together in the large country home on the baking mid-western plains for the first time in years where ensues drug abuse, alcohol abuse, verbal abuse, domestic abuse, addiction, wit, cancer, mental illness, academia, literature, infidelity, incest, suicide, secrets, resentment, and estrangement.

August: Osage County is a dark comedy that doubles audiences in laughter one moment and then gasps them in shock the next moment without warning and without apology. But throughout and above the chaos, August: Osage County is a play about family. It is a play about a group of people who, despite fierce vices and deep-rooted differences, are tightly bound by blood, vows, and a long, damaged history. Now, together for the first time in years, this family must deal with each other and with the decades of baggage each brings as 13 people meet face-to-face in the pressure cooker of a single house on the broiling American Plains.

Film Details
Meryl STREEP...........................Violet Weston
Julia ROBERTS.....................Barbara Fordham
Juliette LEWIS...........................Karen Weston
Ewan MCGREGOR.....................Bill Fordham
Chris COOPER..........................Charlie Aiken
Dermot MULRONEY.........Steve Heidebrecht
Abigail BRESLIN......................Jean Fordham
Margo MARTINDALE........Mattie Fae Aiken

Production Notes:

Filmed in the fall of 2012 in Oklahoma on a budget of $25 million. Based on the Tracy Letts' dark comedic play, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize.

Publicity Stills/Posters
World Premiere

Toronto International Film Festival - September 9, 2013


A.O. Scott, NY Times:
"Sam Shepard kicks off the screen adaptation of 'August: Osage County' with a foggy reference to T. S. Eliot and a succinct account of some of the family pathology that will occupy his kin (and the audience) for the next couple of hours. Mr. Shepard is Beverly Weston, a poet living in a big, faded farmhouse in northeastern Oklahoma. Beverly’s wife, Violet, soon makes her wobbly, cackling entrance in the person of Meryl Streep. She takes pills. He drinks. And then Mr. Shepard quits the scene. You will miss him. You might also envy him."

Michael Phillips, Chicao Tribume:
The actors do what they can. Margo Martindale and Chris Cooper are very fine, and their interplay seems natural, easy and smartly calibrated to withhold real feelings behind false ones. Sam Shepard is just right in the key opening sequence as the alcoholic writer married to Streep's toxic character. Nicholson is affecting as the calmest of the three sisters.  See the play sometime. It cooks; the movie's more of a microwave reheat."

David Edelstein, Vulture:
"There are excellent moments. Sam Shepard has many of them early on: He knows how to underplay material like this onscreen. But he’s gone in no time."

Matt Prigge, Metro:
"The film kicks off semi-promisingly, with Sam Shepard, a lonely patriarch whose wife (Meryl Streep) is ill and has become addicted to a daily cocktail of drugs. Shepard is never better here, relaxed and subtly suggesting a life of little tragedies."

Peter Rainier, Christian Science Monitor:
"A mash-up of plays by, among others, Tennessee Williams, William Inge, Carson McCullers, Lillian Hellman and, well, Sam Shepard. It has some vitality, but I’ve rarely seen a movie with this much dysfunctional family overload."

Chris Bumbray,
"Letts makes the filthy dialogue sounds almost poetic, and an opening monologue by Sam Shepard, in his only scene as the family patriarch Beverly, is honest-to-god brilliant."

Stephanie Zacharek, OC Weekly:
"The movie opens with a brief, intriguing scene in which Vi's husband, Bev, a boozehound poet played by a wonderfully grizzled Sam Shepard, appears to be explaining the simple intricacies of his marriage."

Andrew L. Urban, Urban Cinefile:
"Martindale gives a ripper performance and delivers one of the film's secret bombshells to perfection. As for Cooper and Shepard, both men are giants of the acting profession and here is one good example why."

Rick Bentley, Fresno Bee:
"Their conflict is just the main show in a script that features more angst and family drama than three seasons of "Downton Abbey." It's all presented through standout performances by Margo Martindale, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney and Chris Cooper. Even Sam Shepard's brief time on screen is acting time well spent."

Film critic Susan Wloszczyna
"It all begins with calm abruptness: "Life is very long," says Sam Shepard, just right as folksy poet patriarch Beverly as he quotes T.S. Eliot in the opening segment with a voice coarsened by years of alcohol abuse, dusty books and bitter disappointment."
"Acclaimed as a searing, barbed portrayal of family tensions and ties, it mostly suggests 'Long Day’s Journey Into Night' reworked by Sam Shepard, which is part of what makes Shepard’s cameo in the film amusing, with a large dose of sitcom and soap opera added into the mix."

Travis Hopson, Examiner:
"The film opens with the head looney in the bin, cancer-stricken drug-addled Violet Weston (Streep), all stringy-haired and maniacal like the Joker, harassing her poet husband Beverly (Shepard, tremendous in a tiny part) as he introduces their new Native American housemaid (Upham). "

Drew McWeeny,
"In the film's opening moments, a beautifully cast Sam Shepard plays Bev Weston, the patriarch of a largely-absent family, and he talks about the truce he has made with his wife Violet. She takes pills, and he drinks, and the two of them leave each other alone about their vices. It seems like an uneasy peace, though, and as he talks more about his wife and her habits, we see that he's interviewing a Native American girl named Johnna about becoming their housekeeper. Violet makes her grand entrance near the end of the conversation, and it's a shocking first appearance for Streep because she looks old in a way we've never seen her on film before. Within a few minutes of that first appearance, she's managed to offend Johnna, embarrass Bev, and reveal herself as barely coherent. It's Shepard's only scene in the film, and it's more reaction than anything else. Watching him watch his wife, it's hard not to be affected. It's also probably my favorite scene in the film. So much is said in such a simple few moments, and it sums up this entire marriage in a matter of moments."

Film Critic Cole Smithey:
"Streep’s Violet Weston is a real piece of work. Endless glasses of whisky and reading T.S. Eliot no longer provide escape for Violet’s long-suffering husband Beverly, wonderfully played however briefly by Sam Shepard.

Scott Foundas, Variety:
"We are introduced to the Weston clan by way of patriarch Beverly, a melancholic poet (played here by an excellent Sam Shepard, in a role originated by Letts’ own late father, Dennis) who quotes T.S. Eliot’s immortal maxim that “life is very long” just before taking matters into his own hands."

Ruben V. Nepales, Philippine Inquirer:
"Sam Shepard is memorable in a cameo as the patriarch as well as Misty Upham as the new maid."