Thursday, 6 March 2014

Families Eh?

Now that our Scottish branch of the family is safely back in St Andrews it's been time to get back into our old routine and we found time yesterday to head to the excellent Riverside at Woodbridge for the early evening showing of August Osage County. It's one that we missed when it hit the multiplexes and we weren't sure whether or not to try it as the critics had been generally unfavourable. I'm glad that we went as it was a fabulous study of a family - or perhaps I should say a dysfunctional family.

Meryl Streep plays Violet the matriarch, a cancer victim whose drug and booze filled attempts to escape her situation drives her husband Bev to an early grave and the film centres on Bev's ensuing wake. It's based on a stage play and, as such, is divided into fairly formal acts and scenes with most of the action taking place indoors. Violet has three daughters who all have mid life problems; Barbara (Julia Roberts) has marital difficulties and her sisters have troubled relationships and health problems too. Throw Violet's sister Mattie and her husband and son (Benedict Cumberbatch) into the mix with Barbara's estranged husband (Ewan McGregor) and daughter plus racist Violet's Cheyenne housekeeper and the stage is set for an eventful funeral party.

If I tell you any one of the half dozen reasons that the wake turns into a disaster I would spoil the film for you but Julia Roberts is fabulous as the eldest daughter who finds herself morphing into her drug addled and foul mouthed mum (I think the playwright was challenging The Wolf Of Wall St for the highest f-word count). Families eh? Where would we  be without them.

Perhaps life would be far simpler if, like Joaquin Phoenix in Her we all fell in love with our computer operating system. Okay so it sounds very far fetched but if you analyse it it's not as way out it sounds. It's 2025 (the not too distant future) and  Phoenix is Theodore Twombly a thirty something guy who has recently split with his wife. He buys a new voice operated operating system for his computer and is captivated as he finds himself having his files and desktop organised by the comforting tones of Scarlett Johansson. 

Now I'm a long way from falling for my SatNav (but you do get a higher class of SatNav with a Mercedes and she always says "please" when she tells me where to go), but maybe ten years in the future programming will be more intelligent and start to answer back when I curse her for taking me down a dead end. If you are home alone and your computer is capable of holding a genuine conversation it's not far removed from the voice at the end of a help line or maybe a sex line and if it were that convincing it's not that difficult to believe that a vulnerable person could become dependent and form a relationship. So, although the premise of Her is ,on the face of it, ludicrous we found the film quite believable and quite touching too. 

We've got a quiet week now before we head off to Fife to see the family so I've been putting a few more bits and pieces up for sale on eBay. After last week's £100ish profit I hope that this week's half dozen offerings do a little bit better. I've got high hopes for this beautiful French cup, French porcelain box and 230 year old Worcester saucer that I found on eBay.