Here’s one the first reviews in details:
Meryl Streep: Let me tell you people this right now, you can say that I’m a Meryl fanboy or whatever ever, but this performance was literally everything. This is a pure tour-de-force, acting with a capital A showstopper. The entire cast is very strong, but Meryl devours them all. She gets to be funny, mean, loud, hammy, crazy, physical, subtle all at the same time. You hate her and your heart breaks for her. Even people who don’t typically love this type of performance should find something here. This is a role made to win awards and I can easily see her becoming undeniable despite her recent win just like DDL did. This is complete and utter Oscar BAIT.
Julia Roberts: I have to say that she was the biggest surprise of the cast for me. I thought she did a terrific job. This is a great character on paper and she really had me believing her. There was no vanity or any Julia-isms. She also gets to run the gamut of emotions and does a terrific job. I was really impressed and surprised that for the most part she held her own against Meryl. The role is obviously leading, but I think it’ll be tough for her to compete alongside Streep. In supporting, she would be a total slum dunk, even for a possible win.
Margo Martindale: She was good, just like she always is. Her character has a lot of comic relief and she does that well. She also had great chemistry with Cooper and she was terrific in her big emotional scene. I like her and I’m rooting for her, but I question if there’s enough there for a nomination. I hope so.
Julianne Nicholson: I really like this character and she does a good job with it, but her fate will really depend on the reviews and the campaigns. She also really nails her climactic scene, although Julia is a big part of that as well.
Juliette Lewis: Oh poor, poor, sweet Juliette. Poor out of her depth Juliette. I mean the character is kind of ridiculous (and in that sense she was perfect for this role), but Juliette is even more so. I like her and I was rooting for her, but it was all I could do from laughing out loud during her big final scene. Of course, I do love a good hot mess, so I enjoyed her, but no lol.
Abigail Breslin: I’m not sure who it was that said she had a good role here and more to do than in the actual play, but no, I think it’s actually the opposite. Either way, I’m glad that’s the case. I don’t care for her or this character.
Ewan McGregor: He was fine, but completely reactionary to Julia. I don’t see him happening.
Benedict Cumberbatch: I really liked him a lot; he was really sad and heartbreaking, but he really doesn’t have all that much to do here. It’s too bad that his character gets robbed for a reaction to the big reveal.
Chris Cooper: Has the best male role and by far the most sympathetic character in the film. His telling off of Margo Martindale’s character got applause from the audience, so if many of the men get any traction, it’ll be him.
On a side not, I need to read the theater I saw this in for filth. About 30 minutes till the end of the film, the projector broke and it took then another 30 minutes to fix it. Just as I saw in my Meryl haze, I had to sit there (without a cell phone mind you) and wait while some woman looked for her hat in the seats in front of me. I was not there for that. I’m sure Harvey was not happy the this happened during the first screening ever of his biggest Oscar horse this year.