Family relationships and conflicts have always been a theme in cinema. And how cannot? It is the raw material of life and of our development, for which reason these themes are expected to evoke emotions and reflections in the spectator that will often touch the personal or “familiar”.
It baffles, The Family (“A dangerous family”) – with Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer -, since it´s difficult to locate it in a genre and even discover its purpose. For comedy, it lacks grace, for being gangster movies, it lacks credibility and drama. Despite being a family, which under protection, must emigrate and accommodate their customs to a new life, the film does not touch the dimension of family relationships in the context of adaptation. And in psychological content, the characters’ inner world hardly appears.
AUGUST (Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor) instead, definitely address family ties. In a dark and suffocating house, three adult daughters, their mother sick with cancer and addicted to tranquilizers, a missing father, and other interesting characters meet. The story shows a complex and dysfunctional family, exposing the bitterness – explicit or implicit – of its members and the violence of the links between them.
Each of these daughters show different ways of surviving to a such dysfunctional family of origin and an abusive mother. One of them tries to form a family of her own and autonomous, far from the origins, but no matter how far she leaves, and no matter how hard she tries, she fails to disassociate herself, stop taking charge, and bear the weight of history. Another, stays at home to accompany and care for these parents, postponing a personal project, and later secretly living a forbidden love. The minor takes refuge in dissociation through a frivolous, light and smiling life, denying her own abandonments. This leads us back to the proposition that the elaboration of the difficulties experienced in the family of origin and the differentiation with respect to it, do not depend on physical distance, nor on the “emotional cut”, but on a personal work that implies looking at that history, its pain, and look for a meaning that allows a takeoff for a personal evolution and for the new generations.