Hurt people hurt. We know that. And we also know that few can stop that pattern. The abused becomes the abuser.
The main character Violet in "August: Osage County" has given all that a lot of thought. And she tells her eldest daughter, who she perceives as self-righteously smug, don't dare judge her. The film ends with the sense that no one is going to change. The hurt will go on hurting and also being hurt by those who are even better at the abuse game than they are.
The acting is extraordinary. Julia Roberts, who plays the oldest daughter, allows herself to look and act mature. But, it's not just that which is earning the film so much buzz and Oscar nominations. The grabber is the brutal reality of the story line. We have all lived with those kinds of wounded characters. Or we have been - are maybe still are - one of those ourselves.
Our mother, first-grade teacher, girlhood friend, boss and/or lover was Violet. Meanwhile it really doesn't help to find out that she too had her own version of a Violet in her life. Violet, for example, shares with her three daughters a cruel Christmas story about her mother. The three aren't healed or even able to be more at ease with disturbed Violet.
Can we recover from the Violets? Can we stop being a Violet? This film is not optimistic. The hope that we can survive those people and ourselves comes through the live-in Native American care-taken Johnna. She prevents a rape. She comforts Violet when everyone else is gone. A realist, Johnna can still be compassionate. Maybe the takeaway is that we better find a Johnna to help us navigate what others have done to us and what we might be doing to ourselves.