Crazy. The movie can be defined as a paranoia of a real-life family that happens to be reunited for the patriarch's death, Beverly, that happened to be an alcoholic - and that has an amazing presence even though he only appears for five minutes.
Meryl Streep, with a magnificent performance, guides the audience into a story about a family that is full of grudges, traumas and sadness or depression that when it gets reunited explodes and it starts to be very interesting. You see the strong points and the weaknesses of all the characters and how they deal with their problems.
Amazingly performed, specially from Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, this is a great story of the consequences of non-solved problems of the past that return very hardly, and in some cases kind of poisoned to the life of all the characters. In that time, wee see how does every character react and what does he do to solve the conflict.
Probably, the only thing that could be objected to that film is the fact that the first part is a little bit long, and you don't know what is happening - but it is totally necessary to create the characters and show the traits of each one of them and also the fact that it is not very dinamic, meaning that the direction/editing is plain, they do not play with the cameras a lot, and the transitions could have been worked up a little bit more. Another remarkable thing, in a positive way, is the fact of situating this movie, based on a theatre play, in August and nearly in the middle of a desert where it seems that the warmth disorders people and makes them go a little bit crazy. Probably is that plus the fact that the older people of the family were educated in the old-school way and lived hard times.