Maternal Instincts – Movie Review

Image credit: hollywoodreporter.com

Image credit: hollywoodreporter.com

I’ve said before that the two occasions on which the main players look their best – at weddings and funerals – are the same occasions when the rest of us can look our worst. I guess there’s something about celebrating the beginning of a new life that a marriage is, or the ending of another through death, that causes some of us to act out.

That’s one of the impressions that I was left with after viewing the movie, “August: Osage County”. Secrets are uncovered, plain speech is discovered, and a daughter takes her mother down as she attempts to find the pills that she’s convinced are the cause of her mother’s mean-spiritedness. So no, it’s not the feel-good movie of the year.

The family members gather to attend the funeral of a man who committed suicide, it seems, because his life had become unbearable. Living with a wife who was suffering from mouth cancer but who still insisted on having her smokes, one wonders if her strong mouth and caustic speech was what drove him to take his life, because something else had already driven him to drink.

The three mothers in this film wouldn’t exactly be called nurturing, but that’s probably because each had her own demons to contend with.

The widow, thought that it was the perfect opportunity to tell her daughter that she broke her father’s heart when she moved away from home. But while she pushed the father out front, it was obvious that the daughter never showing up to give support to her, was only one of many hurts.

The widow’s sister-in-law considered her only son a disappointment to her and all concerned, but it was likely that since she’d been dancing with guilt for years concerning his paternity, she never really saw her son – only her mistake.

And the widow’s daughter, who was herself the mother of a teenaged girl, seemed unwilling to take any of the responsibility for the fact that her child was well on her way to disregarding her own mother, and continuing the cycle of blame.

The end of someone’s life causes most of us to reflect on our own lives, and the characters in this movie probably did this in spades – and none of them was happy with what they were seeing.

Unfortunately, when our lives that generally hold so much promise at the beginning, show no such sign of it at the end, we would probably agree with the main protagonist when she says, “Thank God we can’t tell the future – we’d never get out of bed”.

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