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August: Osage County

M: drug use, offensive language, content that may disturb

Spoiler alert

This page outlines how the classification criteria were applied. We do our best to discuss the content while avoiding spoilers, but please avoid reading this information if you do not want to learn anything about the content of this movie.

August: Osage County poster

Date registered: 06/01/2014

About the film

August: Osage County follows the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

A still image from the film - Violet with two of her daughters in the funeral car

Classification criteria: Sex

Under matters of sex, there are a few sexual references and mention of extra marital affairs. This topic is dealt with through highly emotional revelations and encounters. There are no images and few references to sexual activity having taken place. The relationships are all presented as negative and causing distress.

A still image from the film - the three sisters have a heart-to-heart

Classification criteria: Violence

There is physical violence seen after a fearsome argument at dinner when Barbara attacks her mother. Neither woman shows signs of any physical harm but the moments are fierce and noisy.

A still image from the film - Barbara attacking Violet

Classification criteria: Highly offensive language

The verbal abuse from the drug-addled Violet is consistent and palpable. She sets about needlessly psychologically flaying her family. This takes a variety of forms and moves around in insults, put-downs, old jealousies and disappointments and is coloured by the significant use of highly offensive language.

A still image from the film - Violet, cigarette in hand, verbally attacks family

Decision summary

August: Osage County is a powerful, often harrowing drama showing how a dying matriarch continues to pass on the legacy of her own damage from poverty and abuse. The narrative is a bleak portrayal that targets audiences able to understand the concepts and ideas behind the emotional pain presented.

There are issues of alcoholism, prescription drug addiction, adultery, sexual misbehaviour, and notions of predatory underage sex, suicide and incest present in the storylines. These are mostly dealt with through dialogue which is often cruel and savage. These are adult themes unlikely to cause injury because of the careful way they are handled but they need some maturity to interpret and comprehend clearly.

The film is classified as unrestricted: suitable for audiences 16 years of age and over. Weighing this against the relevant provisions of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, the publication does not require restriction and therefore availability is not impeded in any way.

Contact the Information Unit if you require further information on a classification decision.

M label
M: drug use, offensive language, content that may disturb