Explaining “August: Osage County” to My 3-Year-Old

You guys, the older I get (I’ll never reveal my actual age, but I can tell you I’m somewhere in my late 50s/early 60s), the more I appreciate movies released late in the year.

That’s when the Oscar contenders come out and it’s pretty much the only time you can watch movies made for adults with a shred of dignity left from a year full of body switching documentaries and golf propaganda romcoms (as you can see, I’m an astute student of Hollywood).

I was especially pleased with last year’s crop of Oscar movies. I wept at the end of The ButlerSaving Mr. Banks and Gerard Butler Links His Checking and Saving Bank Accounts.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to weep as openly as I would have preferred because I watched all these movies with my little miracle baby, who thinks tears are a sign of weakness, even though he cries whenever he gets water on his hands.

But this is the only way I can watch movies these days and I was determined to watch another Oscar season emotional dynamo – August: Osage County, out now on DVD.

august osage county family

I loved it. Meryl Streep was good and so was Julia Roberts (not be confused, of course, with Julia Robertz, a longtime fan of this website). It was angry and creepy the way I like my family dramas to be and it takes place in Oklahoma, which I drove through once in the early 2000s and ate a really nice meal at a diner outside of Tulsa, served by waitress who was very kind to me.

This level of quality has become increasingly rare in big movies so now when something is good, it feels great.

Of course, none of this meant anything to my three-year-old son, who kept shouting “Where’s Spider-Man?!” throughout the film. (Like the rest of the Internet, he was also impressed with the latest movie’s parenting lessons…)

I kept telling him as gently as possible that Spider-Man wasn’t in this movie but he wouldn’t believe it and even accused me of hiding something from him.

“What did you do with Spider-Man?” he growled.

I tried to explain that I didn’t actually make the movie we were watching.

“Well, you made something,” he said. “Something called bullsh$#@$.”

That’s not the kind of talk I encourage in the home, but no lecture was necessary because, by the end of the movie, he actually seemed to change his mind.

august osage county roberts streep

Every time Meryl Streep had a line, he jumped up and applauded, screaming “Brava! Brava! Brava!”

He referred to Julia Roberts as an ingénue and a “revelation in her very first role”, which isn’t exactly accurate but I appreciated the enthusiasm.

By the end, when the characters were learning their lessons, he got choked up and asked, “Why is Meryl Stump so mean to her family?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “But I’m not sure that’s how you say her name.”

“I see. And… is she going to turn into Spider-Man at some stage?”


“And is that why she didn’t win the Oscar? Boom! Take that Stump!”

And with that he scampered off to bed.

He might never pronounce Meryl Streep’s name correctly, you guys, but he’s a little miracle all the same.


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[Photos courtesy of Roadshow Entertainment]

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