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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.  

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

a victim of mistaken identity


My sister, whom I shall call Robin because my parents almost named her that, lives near my hometown. Robin looks a lot like me. She is also ten years younger.

For about the 21st time in as many years Robin called me today to tell me, yet again, one of my high school classmates approached her and asked if she was me. And of course she informed them that no, she was my younger sister, Robin.

To which my classmates say something to this effect:

Oh! Well that explains it, then! I've seen you lots of times and thought you were her. Huh. And here, all this time, I thought she ignored didn't recognize me!

Even my high school BFF once mistook Robin for me. Robin said my BFF came storming across a parking lot ready to ream me for not letting her know I was in town.

Now, you can imagine (or not if you are a healthy, confident person who doesn't spend hours upon hours ruminating) this dilemma presents a push and pull of two equally polar feelings. On the one hand there might be a crowd of classmates out there who think I look ten years younger. Not a bad impression to have floating around.

But on the other hand, there's more likely potentially a crowd of classmates thinking I am blind ignoring them. And that I am, what? Too good to speak? An asshole?

And of course my mind gets stuck on the latter. Worried that I'm hurting other people's feelings. When I'm not even there. Worried that people think I'm an asshole.

I am, as they say, a victim of mistaken identity.

Nothing can be done about this, right? Or can there? The year is 2012. I can use some of this modern social technology to make an announcement. On my high school's Facebook page:

Hey classmates, Listen up! I've got a younger sister who looks a lot like me. Her name is Robin. If you think you see me at the grocery store and I don't acknowledge you? It is not me ignoring you. It is my sister ignoring you. Because she has no idea who you are. So do me a favor? Go up to me/her and ask. So you'll know what the real deal is. So you won't go around telling people I'm a stuck up asshole!

So what do you think, readers? Too much? Too neurotic?