[[caption-width-right:230:Misery Loves Family.]]
'''''August: Osage County''''' is a play written by Tracy Letts, which premiered at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in 2007 and was given a Broadway showing shortly thereafter. It won the 2008 UsefulNotes/PulitzerPrize for Drama.
The play tells the story of the Weston family, which is forced to reunite after the patriarch, once-famous poet Beverly Weston, turns up dead from suicide. It becomes apparent that Beverly's vindictive and pill-popping widow, Violet, has psychologically damaged each of their three middle-aged daughters, causing them to lead similarly self-destructive lives. After Beverly's funeral, what is meant to be a time of mourning for the Westons devolves into several weeks of pettiness, cruelty, and recrimination that destroys the family from within.
A film adaptation of the play, starring Creator/MerylStreep, Creator/JuliaRoberts, and an AllStarCast, was released on Christmas Day 2013.
!!This play provides examples of the following tropes:
* AbusiveParents: Violet to her daughters. Mattie Fae to Little Charles. Barbara to Jean.
* AdultFear: Jean almost getting molested by another family member (although Steve technically wasn't part of the family yet).
* TheAlcoholic: Beverly and Violet are both alcoholics at the start of the play, though Violet's main addictions come from prescription drugs.
** Barbara becomes one after [[spoiler:her husband and daughter leave her while the rest of the family collapses.]]
* BlackSheep: Before Beverly killed himself, Barbara had not visited her parents for several years. This did not help her already poor relationship with Violet.
* BigDamnHeroes: Johnna the housekeeper walks in on Steve molesting Jean and beats him off with a frying pan. In the film, Johanna overhears Steve trying to convince Jean to lift up her shirt in exchange for marijuana, though this is offscreen and the viewer is only shown Johanna's point of view. She attacks Steve with a shovel.
* BigScrewedUpFamily: The Westons, oh so very very much.
* BrotherSisterIncest: [[spoiler:Ivy and Little Charles think they are KissingCousins. Thanks to Mattie Faye and Beverly, they're not.]]
* BuildingOfAdventure: The action of the play is confined to a three-story rural house, which is built ''entirely on stage''.
* BumblingDad: Charles and Bill are portrayed as incompetent, indecisive and weak-willed both as fathers and husbands.
* ControlFreak: Barbara desperately tries to seize control of her mother's drug addiction, the decline of her marriage, and the impending self-destruction of her entire family. [[spoiler:She fails at all three.]]
* DespairEventHorizon: Beverly's condition at the start of the play. Barbara's condition by the end.
* DinnerAndAShow: One of the more bleak examples. The dramatic centerpiece of the play is the dinner following Beverly's funeral, which ends in a physical brawl between Barbara and Violet.
* DrivenToSuicide: Beverly Weston. The play explores why he did it.
* DrowningMySorrows: Barbara near the end of Act Three.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:Karen learns that Steve is a sleazy pedophile but chooses to ignore the truth and marries him anyway; Ivy learns that she is actually half-siblings with her lover Little Charles but still chooses to run away with him to New York; Bill and Jean become fed up with Barbara's domineering behavior and leave her; Barbara ends up becoming an emotionally destitute drunk like her parents; Barbara, finally realizing just how far gone Violet is, leaves her to eventually die miserable and alone.]]
** [[spoiler:In the film this becomes LighterAndSofter, if only by omission. Ivy is shown driving away by herself. Barbara is still left at the house, although no descent into alcoholism is shown. It is also left ambiguous what happens to Violet. The entire family has left at this point, though she is shown with housekeeper Johanna. Karen still marries Steve.]]
* DysfunctionalFamily: See DysfunctionJunction below to get the nitty-gritty details of how and why.
* DysfunctionJunction: The Weston family ''in spades'':
** Even before being DrivenToSuicide, Beverly Weston was a failed poet and [[TheAlcoholic alcoholic]] who has crossed into the DespairEventHorizon over the state of his wife and family.
** Violet Weston is a pill-popping AbusiveParent and [[ManipulativeBastard Manipulative Bitch]] who insults each of her family members and turns them against each other.
** Barbara Weston, Violet's oldest daughter, is a neurotic ControlFreak who constantly tries to micromanage the chaos around her, from Violet's drug addiction to her own failing marriage.
** Ivy Weston, Violet's middle daughter, is planning to run away with her first cousin Little Charles Aiken, unaware that [[spoiler:he is actually her half-brother.]]
** Karen Weston, Violet's youngest daughter, is obsessed with her wedding plans even in the midst of her father's funeral and chooses to live in denial when her "perfect" fiancÚ tries to molest her niece.
** Bill Fordham, Barbara's husband, slept with one of his students at the college where he taught.
** Jean Fordham, Barbara's daughter, is apathetic towards the rest of the family and shows more concern for watching Creator/LonChaney's ''Film/ThePhantomOfTheOpera1925'' on television than with attending Beverly's funeral.
** Mattie Faye Aiken, Violet's sister and Little Charles' mother, constantly puts down her son until her husband gives her the [[ReasonYouSuckSpeech Reason You Suck]] treatment and [[spoiler:his BrotherSisterIncest with Ivy is revealed.]]
* EvilMatriarch: You could reasonably argue that Violet was influenced by the drugs she took. But even after she was weaned off the drugs, Violet still revealed traumatizing secrets about her daughters to the rest of the family ForTheEvulz.
* [[FilmOfTheBook Film of the Play]]: As noted above. There are some differences between the two.
* FreudianExcuse: It's hinted that the reason Barbara is such a ControlFreak towards Bill and Jean, and the reason she did not speak to Beverly and Violet, was to avoid the toxic mayhem of the Weston household.
* GranolaGirl: Jean.
* IgnoredEpiphany: Twice. First, Karen tries to blame Jean for Steve's attempt to molest her and chooses to lie to herself over what he did, obsessed with getting a better life than the rest of her family and deluding herself into thinking a marriage to Steve will assure that. Then, Ivy learns from Violet that her first cousin Little Charles [[spoiler:is actually her half-brother]], but insists that she will still start a new life in New York with Little Charles without telling him the truth.
* KilledOffscreen: Beverly's fate is implied but left ambiguous until the end of Act One. Averted in the film, which shows him climbing into a boat as he prepares to drown himself.
* KissingCousins: Subverted. Ivy and Little Charles try to keep their relationship a secret because they are first cousins. [[spoiler:It turns out later that Beverly was Little Charles' real father, making them ''half-siblings''.]]
* [[ManipulativeBastard Manipulative Bitch]]: Violet. ''And how''.
* NeverTrustATrailer: The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Hd_uO72h1s trailer]] for the Creator/MerylStreep film adaptation makes ''Osage'' look like an upbeat family dramedy. Only someone who has seen the play would know how dark and depressing the story really is.
** The poster is much more [[http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/i/2013/10/16/August-Osage-County-Poster.jpg truthful]].
* NotSoDifferent: Violet and Barb. They are both assertive, quick to temper, holier than thou, and by the end of the play they are both hard drinkers. [[spoiler: Brutally lampshaded by Ivy when Violet reveals that she and Little Charles are half-siblings.]]
--->'''Barb:''' This wasn't me, okay? This wasn't me. This wasn't me, it was Mom!
--->'''Ivy:''' ''There's no difference!''
* [[OnlySaneMan Only Sane People]]: Johnna, Charles Aiken, and Sheriff Gilbeau.
* ParentalFavoritism: Discussed. Violet tells Barb that she was Beverly's favorite and that she is partly responsible for his death by moving away. Ivy later counters this by saying that she was Beverly's favorite and Barb was Violet's, and that Barb's moving away hurt her the most. Of course, this leaves Karen as TheUnfavoritie.
* PlotTriggeringDeath: Beverly's death gathers the family together and shortly after that all kinds of conflicts that had been seething under the surface erupt.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Plenty throughout:
** Violet delivers them to everyone, constantly.
** Charles gives one to Mattie Fae over her abusive treatment of Little Charles, threatening to leave her if she doesn't start treating him better.
** Bill gives one to Barbara after she slaps Jean during an argument, announcing that he and Jean are leaving the house and will not take Barbara with them.
* ScrewPolitenessIAmASenior: With her giving TheReasonYouSuckSpeech left and right, deserved or not, Violet epitomizes this trope.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Firmly on the side of cynicism.
* StepfordSmiler: Karen's endgame.
* SurpriseIncest: [[spoiler: Little Charles and Ivy, who were already KissingCousins, are revealed to be half-siblings]].
* TheUnfavorite: Karen. She has the least interaction with her mother, and what little she does have are brutal criticisms.