Yesterday my daughter and I saw Meryl Streep’s latest film, August: Osage County. Other famous actors were cast, among them Julia Roberts.
We were prepared for some light-hearted fare, a comedy with a sprinkling of drama. Instead we were thoroughly surprised by the heavy drama about which there was very little to laugh.
The byline should have read…tragic mayhem in a fractured family. The film was reminiscent of holiday dinners one hears about where family members spew venom across a table of delightful goodies.
If I had to describe the film in one word it would be…ugly.
While both Streep and Roberts seem to be aging beautifully without the help of bottled potions, their depictions of the main characters was anything but. I’m certain neither actress is really like the persons they portrayed, a bitch of a mother whose daughter followed suit.
I’ve always felt that parents play a big role in determining the outcome of their offspring. After all, we are their first role models, like it or not. Like the monkeys, our children imitate what they see us do. Understanding what it is they’re doing comes later, sometimes much later. Like when we’re adults unable to change who we’ve unwittingly become.
The silver lining to an otherwise tragic story is that we can break the pattern. We needn’t continue the legacy of bad parenting. It may take all that we have to cut the ties that bind us to an abusive past, but for the sake of future generations we must. Otherwise, endless lives continue to be heaped upon the landfill of lost souls.
August: Osage County is rife with lost souls…Streep’s husband who commits suicide because he can’t continue living with a venomous wife…Streep’s sister who ceaselessy hurls abuse at the son she fathered with Streep’s husband…Streep’s daughters, Roberts who has taken up the mantle of her mother’s razor-edge tongue, and her sisters of whom one can only find love with the brother whom she thought was a first cousin, and the other sister who is marrying a lech because he promises her an island honeymoon.
Perhaps the film’s characters are over-the-top, but I’m sure we all know someone who has suffered the effects of abuse that made its way from one generation to the next.
Love is key to finding one’s way back from a life of purgatory on earth. Love of one’s self, nurtured by the supporting love of others.
…a big step forward is not being closed off to love…