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Monday, August 13, 2012

hope springs into the therapy room




Saw Hope Springs yesterday.  It stars Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones as a couple married 31 years in desperate need of an intimacy tune up.  Added treat, Steve Carell plays their marriage therapist.  He plays it straight but I was constantly suppressing a giggle every time the camera was on him.

As someone who has been present in many a couples therapy session, to include both sides of the couch, I can say this is one of the most realistic portrayals of on-the-screen therapy I have ever seen.  It's a good look at what cognitive behavioral therapy looks like.  

It was also nice to watch on-screen therapy and not wince at the multitude of ethical violations and unrealistic therapy results.  And what I'm talking about here is that magical Aha moment where the client accesses a deeply buried insight, bubbles over in dramatic tears, is hugged by the therapist, and all is well from that moment forward.

Aside from the therapy perspective?  Convincing acting by all and it's a hugely funny and really touching movie.  I laughed til I cried and cried til I laughed.  Have tissues in hand when you choose your seat. Especially if you suspect you'll see aspects of your own marital bogged-down-ness.   

Hope Springs is not the most well directed movie.  It's got a few slow points and the timing is awkward in several scenes and the dialog is a little weak here and there.  But overall I loved every minute of it.  

It was also a great movie going experience thanks to the fact that Sam and I were two of the youngest people in the mostly packed audience.  It was fun to listen to the loud bursts of laughter, the type which says, Yup.  That's exactly how it is in my marriage.  One guy in particular was doing a little too much relating when Streep's character fessed up that she didn't like oral sex.  When Carell asked whether she was referring to giving or receiving, she stammers, Uhhh..... Huh?!?  This is a  woman who needs June Cleaver to teach her a thing or two.   

Which leads to one of my not very important on a movie choice level but important on a  female point of view level.  I speak of issues raised by Streep's character but not followed up on by the therapist or elsewhere.  The perspective portrayed where the woman seemed most motivated and willing to change her behavior and the man less so.  Need bedroom sparks?  Woman: get to it.  The part about doing more for the woman to keep her interested?  (Which is a number one issue in my office?)  More or less hopped over by the male director.  For example, we see Streep doing the Monica on a banana.  Do we see Jones playing tongue-sie with a taco?  No, we do not.  




Oh well.  It's a very good start to a very necessary dialog for older couples who want to keep sex alive.  And great, all around entertainment for people who want to see a relatable married couple in a funny, poignant film.  

11 comments:

Mary said...

The ads for this have just started here in Oz. Thought I would see it but reading this KNOW I will see it.

Jenn @ Youknow...that Blog? said...

I've got to see this movie - sounds all too familiar ;) The trick will be getting my hubby to agree to see it! Thanks for the run-down :)

shrink on the couch said...

Alarmingly, it was my husband's idea to see this movie! I'm still sorting that one out.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It's definitely on my list--great reviews and stellar actors.

Susan said...

My husband would never go to that movie - just as he bailed from couples therapy after 2 sessions...I am planning to see it with my sister. Sorry to hear that, as usual, it is the woman doing the heavy lifting.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

I agree with you completely on this, right down to the feminine point of view. All in all, Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones acted the heck out of a so-so script making it a good movie.

Lee said...

Well, this does seem like a film my mom would like but my dad, not so much.

I want to see it because I adore Meryl but I'm usually annoyed by Carell in any role other than Michael Scott. So, don't know. Enjoyed your review though.

dkuroiwa said...

i really want to see this, but i wonder how long it will take for this to get here?? though tommy lee jones is a GOD here in japan (really...he is...they/we love him!!) i'm thinking that a movie of this genre may take longer than the monster/superhero/action movie.

(i giggled at the oral sex question and answer....i'm sure if i see this in a theater, i'll be the only one laughing then, too!)

Banjo @ Unfabulousness said...

Was so on the fence about htis movie, so thank you for the review. Will go see it with the man for sure! (Although I have no complaints in the bedroom, he is always up for a chick flick!)

Sunny said...

Have to add the movie to my super long to-watch list. Thank you for a cute review.

Rainbow Motel said...

I really want to see this movie and I'm glad to read your thoughts on it. Putting it on my list of "Things to Do".