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August: Osage County

Things get ugly and uncomfortable in this portrait of an Oklahoma family who has to come together when the patriarch dies, but every minute is absorbing. Somehow Meryl Streep manages to top herself as a pill-popping mother who has a nasty (or "truth-telling," according to her) side that makes you cringe . . . and sometimes smirk. Julia Roberts is at the top of her game too as a daughter who's bitter, but in pain. The rest of the cast is nothing to slouch at, either; Margo Martindale, Julianne Nicholson, and Chris Cooper also shine.

Read More Meryl StreepJulia Roberts