Characters on the Couch
Film & Television Blog

by Dr. Sandra Cohen

Do You Have to Make a Poisonous Choice to Survive?

David O. Russell’s American Hustle is a cinematic treatise on the complexities of survival. Irving Rosenfeld, Sydney Prosser (AKA Lady Edith Greensley), Richie DiMaso, and Rosalyn Rosenfeld are each, in their own uniquely perverse and destructive ways, just trying to survive. But, are they? If we remove ourselves from the intrigue of the hustle itself (based upon the…

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Is A Mother’s Hate Survivable?

 A mother’s hate inflicts the worst kind of suffering. There’s not one child among the main characters in August: Osage County who escapes. Not Violet, not Mattie Faye, not Barbara, Karen, Ivey, or even little Charles. Most of the film’s immediate suffering is at the hands of Violet Westin, the cruel matriarch of the Westin family.…

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A Novel by Nora Ephron

“’Tis the season to be jolly.” It’s also the season to miss people. Nora Ephron is someone to be missed. She could make us laugh at our necks, and at almost anything. Her novel, Heartburn (a barely fictionalized account of the end of her marriage), even manages to make us laugh at divorce. Why does she…

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