ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY August: Osage County★★★ Premiere 9.00-11.25pm C4
There are no prizes for spotting that this compelling housebound family drama is based on a stage play. The Broadway production earned plenty of awards, including five Tonys and a Pulitzer, and it’s been adapted for the screen by actor/playwright Tracy Letts (you may have seen him in this year’s The Big Short or Channel 4’s Homeland). Director John Wells does a decent job of getting everybody in and out of the right door at the right time, as an Oklahoma clan trade neuroses, home truths and secrets when they assemble for a family funeral during the hottest month of the year. A terrific ensemble boasts Sam Shepard as a boozy poet, Oscar-nominated Meryl Streep playing his combative, drug-addicted, cancer-stricken wife and Julia Roberts (also Oscar-nominated) as their equally frank daughter. There’s also the splendid Margo Martindale (The Good Wife, The Americans), Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney, Ewan McGregor and Benedict Cumberbatch – who does just fine with an American accent. A minimal, twangy score by Brokeback Mountain’s Gustavo Santaolalla soothes between the around-the-table outbursts.
If you the weather in Britain is changeable now, this disaster epic might put your grumbles in perspective. Scientist Dennis Quaid battles across a frozen Manhattan after global warming causes a new ice age.