By in Movies & TV

August: Osage County Makes My Dysfunctional Family Look Normal

I have a curiosity about people and what brings them to any moment in their lives. Some have told me, over the years, that I "would make a good shrink." I, generally, laugh and reply with a resounding, "Oh! Hell, no!"

I admit that I want to know people's "stories," and will often times listen for a bit. But after watching Oscar-nominated "August: Osage County" last night, any notion that I would ever want to become a mental health counselor of any kind was dashed forever!

Meryl Streep (Violet Weston) and Julia Roberts (Barbara Weston) are both up for Oscars for this film, and it is no surprise as to why. Both were brilliant in their performances of strong-willed, mother and eldest daughter, whose lives are remarkably parallel, though the younger Weston woman left years earlier to get away from the dysfunction.

Throw in two more daughters ( Ivy and Karen) and a granddaughter (Jean), an aunt (Violet's sister Mattie Fae) and her son (Little Charles), and the rest of the men involved with all these women, and you have Weston family dynamics that will take the top prize in the dysfunctional category.

A family crisis brings the cast of characters back to the house where the Westons grew up in Osage County, Oklahoma.

There are a lot of twists and turns in the story of relationships within this family, just as there are in any family. For anyone who wants confirmation that you aren't alone in how you deal with your own crazy family, this would be a great film to remind you of that. It might just remind you that things aren't quite as bad as they could be.

The characters in this film (based on play by the same name written by Tracy Letts) are often labeled as "strong-willed, dysfunctional" women. There is certainly truth in this, as these are the women who are portrayed as angry, over-the-top, controlling and bitchy women.

However, it is important to always remember that "dysfunction" is not exclusive to those who are vocal and loud. Sometimes, the softly spoken or silent undercurrents are equally as problematic and damaging, whether from women OR men.

I thought this was an excellent, though intense, film, and any of those up for an award will be quite deserving. It is one of my favorite films for both Streep and Roberts.

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Copyright © 2015 Coral Levang

Adapted from original posted on Bubblews February 8, 2014, but since removed by author.

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Coins: 9753, $14.64, 73%

Image Credit » by geralt

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JohnRoberts wrote on October 7, 2015, 2:55 PM

I have not seen this one because for some reason it just holds no appeal. I think maybe with a different cast I would watch. I seriously dislike Meryl Streep and George Clooney.

CoralLevang wrote on October 7, 2015, 3:08 PM

It's actually a great film. But Clooney isn't in this one.

wolfgirl569 wrote on October 7, 2015, 3:51 PM

Iwill have to try it out but dont usually watch those types of shows. You make it sound interesting tho.

CoralLevang wrote on October 7, 2015, 3:54 PM

I don't either, but it was really a great film. And anyone coming from a major dysfunctional family will be glad to realize that you might just be thankful for how bad it wasn't compared to these folks and those like them.

JohnRoberts wrote on October 7, 2015, 5:33 PM

I confused Clooney as acting in the film when he was one of the producers so I wasn't so horribly wrong about his having a connection.

DWDavisRSL wrote on October 7, 2015, 7:44 PM

I've not seen the movie but I do have a couple friends who are shrinks. One of them spends his weekend as a video DJ doing parties. The other spends his weekends playing golf. I wonder who of the two is having more fun. Neither of them is a particularly good listener. Now my friend who was a bartender, she was a great listener.

markgraham wrote on October 7, 2015, 9:12 PM

This is a very good movie and I did study one year of counseling in a master's program and did well, but I withdrew and decided to get a masters in children's literature and teach. There are similarities between the careers in my eyes.

Paulie wrote on October 8, 2015, 3:55 AM

I haven't seen Osage County. Even if I had what could be called a dysfunctional family, I certainly wouldn't want to broadcast it to the world.