Secrets Of Osage County: Family Role Film

The Secrets of Osage County is a film that depicts a family reality that is anything but idyllic, but more widespread than we want to admit.
Osage County Secrets: Family Role Film

The family is a socializing tool that mediates between the individual and the rest of the world. It is our first role model when we begin to relate to others, a starting point whose influence extends far beyond childhood. The Secrets of Osage County is a film that depicts a family reality that is anything but idyllic, but more widespread than we want to admit.

As in any family, in which only those who live there know the true dynamics, the characters struggle between brotherly love and the respect due to those who gave you life and a gloomy family landscape in which frustration, envy and competitiveness are projected. , rather than love and protection. Osage County Secrets is all of this.

Osage County Secrets : Plot

After her husband’s mysterious disappearance, Violet reunites her three daughters. For each of them, the return to the paternal home will mean rediscovering old conflicts and resentments.

It turns out that her husband Beverly died, probably suicidal, while on the boat. Refugee for years in alcohol, he was linked to Violet, a woman with a strong addiction to drugs, from a destructive relationship.

Marriage, suffocated by the woman’s demands and psychological problems, hid a great secret. Violet had been punishing, for years and in a veiled way, her husband for an infidelity committed long ago and never declared, a relationship that gave birth to a child.

P rovenivano both as a marginal context of poverty and ill-treatment by their parents. Accustomed to the inclemencies of life, but proud to have managed to emerge from that opportunity-less environment and to have achieved a good position thanks to sacrifice and hard work.

The couple had projected their ambitions onto their three daughters, but none of them had met their expectations. The mother had thus ended up developing a deep contempt for her daughters, not losing every opportunity to question their choices.

A passive-aggressive mother

Violet, played by Meryl Streep, has some elements of narcissism, but she is above all a passive-aggressive personality.

Focused on her daughters’ mistakes, she blames them for wasting opportunities she never had. She is a manipulator who becomes theatrical and melodramatic when her plans fail.

He feels himself in competition with the whole world; whatever information she gets about her daughters becomes a useful weapon. Constantly use double bind communication (negative-positive-negative).

It is the role of the sick woman who dominates the world. She feels hurt because her daughters have a life of their own. He does everything he can to make them come back to him and remember that they have “duties towards her”. She loves to point out, incessantly, how little she has had from life and how much they have had.

The eldest daughter

Her older sister (played by Julia Roberts) has always been assigned the role of mediator. She is the guardian of order in family crises, responsible to her younger sisters and parents. This position led her to develop a controlling instinct which caused her many problems with her husband, who eventually left her. An aspect of his life that he kept hidden from the whole family.

Despite the love they feel, her husband and daughter can no longer tolerate her inability to relax and let go.

The Secrets of Osage County  is also the story of a woman in which an inner struggle is underway: the desperate attempt not to repeat a familiar pattern that has been passed down, generation after generation.

The middle sister

In almost all families there is always the figure of a daughter who is assigned the role of parent’s caregiver. 

In the film Secrets of Osage County , this role is occupied by the second child. She did not marry, she did not achieve anything in life but take care of her parents; this allowed her to accumulate a good dose of resentment, towards them and towards her sisters. Her little secret is an intimate and strange relationship with her cousin.

The mother accepts without moral problems the role that the daughter has been forced to fill. At the same time he does not appreciate it and does not admit it. He hides his guilt in a constant attack on his daughter. He berates her for not being able to start a family and for her unkempt appearance. He still feels he can judge and humiliate her.

The result is a daughter who has serious difficulties relating to others and who appears to have developed avoidant personality disorder .

The younger sister

The younger sister is  a childish and fragile woman whose only desire is to please everyone and be accepted. She spent her adult life jumping from one relationship to another, perhaps from bad to worse and with a tendency to end up with men who don’t respect her.

That doesn’t stop her from continuing to see every relationship as the right one. He is an emotionally dependent person who goes out of his way to show his mother that he is happy. Her romantic relationship, which she finds idyllic and perfect, is none other than “the boyfriend on duty” in the eyes of others. We could perhaps define it as a “limit personality”. 

The Secrets of Osage County, image from the film

Osage County Secrets: Identifying Yourself in Models

The three daughters grew up in an authoritarian educational environment, with parents unable to show affection except through strict control over their lives. The common reason is a disorganized and unhealthy attachment, faced by each in a different way.

The first strategy adopted in this family crisis is denial. Denial makes it easy to sustain false homeostasis and each member has developed their own defense mechanisms to survive the family unit.

In short, it is a “normal” family environment to strangers, but extremely dysfunctional on the inside, where there are many triangulations.

Not surprisingly, The Secrets of Osage County  takes place in August. The suffocating heat, a recurring motif, is a metaphorical asphyxiation felt by its characters.

The film manages to describe many of the roles that are assigned in each family; the viewer has no difficulty in recognizing himself in at least one of these roles which are often the cause of profound psychic suffering, in the form of frustrated and denied desires. A film that certainly induces reflection.

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