The opening scene of “Carnage” (2011), shows a group of boys and a physical fight brewing among them.  Following the incident, two couples meet in the home of one family, the Longstreets, to resolve the fight between their sons. Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan Cowan (Christoph Waltz) are the parents of Zachary; Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael Longstreet (John C. Reilly), the parents of Ethan.

Nancy clearly believes that there should be an apology and that the two boys should talk it out.  It was her son who had been hitting the Longstreet boy in the fight, yet she doesn’t want to let him off the hook.  You can’t hear any words exchanged when the boys fight, but she later brings up name-calling as a part of bullying and of the particular incident.  An argument of which boy is really to blame ensues; did Zachary start a physical fight or was it in defense of being called names?

Alan is rather removed, busy with taking business calls as Nancy tries to continue talking with the Longstreets about the boys’ problem.  He also doesn’t feel that his Zachary will ever apologize due to his personality.  In Alan’s opinion, kids fighting is just something that happens here and there.

While going over and over the situation between the Zachary and Ethan, the already tense discussions spill into further differences.  The Cowans and Longstreets argue about differences in their marriages and parenting styles.  However, it’s not just one set of parents against another; husband and wife get annoyed with each other as do both men and women.

Penelope is the much more aggressive of the two Longstreet parents, while Michael is laid-back and tries to make light of things.  She goes from showing a fairly reasonable demeanor to the parents of the boy she believes is entirely at fault.  However, various moments in the parents‘ meeting, as well as certain statements by Nancy, greatly anger her.

Early on, Michael is disliked by Nancy because of his disregard for a hamster’s well-being.  As part of his relaxed personality, simply letting the family pet go is an action which he tries to excuse as humanely as possible.  It is one such incident which causes judgement against the Longstreets and their characters as parents.

Some laughs come about, showing how the adults can still find some basic aspects of life that give common ground.  It’s all in how people communicate as mature, intelligent adults who are the starting points for a solution to a bullying incident.  Those moments of laughter make you feel as though they’ll all come together in mutual agreement.  Stay tuned.

“Carnage” features a lot of great acting to relay dealing with bullying, a topic that is so important to address.  It gives a glimpse of parents reacting and attempting to remedy such an incident among each other, debating the best follow-up steps.  From the boys in the beginning, to the assumed close of their parents’ meeting, the story filled with hard feelings reflects real life.  Kids are not the only ones who engage in bullying; adults do as well, even if it has nothing to do whatsoever with any offspring.  In some cases of bullying among adults, the one in the wrong never apologizes.

The parents in “Carnage” come from different worlds and one thing in particular about them makes it easy to imagine a real-life scenario of adults bullying.  It is especially as they begin to get personal in arguments about their married lives and parental skills.  Did they apologize after hitting on such personal and sensitive topics?  You’ll have to see what happens; I find it interesting how the scenes in the Longstreet home conclude.

This movie is one that I could really connect with in terms of the idea of apologies between people.  Whatever their age, I feel that people should talk things over and apologize when something hurtful is said or done.  Sometimes, blame might be mutual.  However, if only one person is clearly in the wrong, the apology is owed by that person to the other party involved.  In either case, why let it drag out for a long time?