Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hope Springs

I recently went to see the film Hope Springs, starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell. I found it charming, funny and entertaining -- although Oscar material it's not! And while it was well received by most of the folks in the theater, Ruth and I were, without question, the youngest people there!

I guess the movie appeals to an older audience, which makes sense since it's about a couple in their sixties (Kay and Arnold Soames) whose marriage has become boring, routine and intimacy-free, causing Kay to enroll them in a week of intense marital counseling with renowned therapist Dr. Bernie Feld, played by Steve Carell.

Although Carell's character is a tad stereotypical (Ruth kept asking me, "Is that how you sound when you're working with clients?"), the way in which he works with the Arnolds renews hope in the possibility of restoring intimacy and closeness to a relationship, even after years of mundane living. It may involve a few false starts (so to speak!), but success is definitely possible. In other words, as the movie's title connotes, there is always hope.

As a therapist, about a third of my practice involves working with couples whose relationships have fallen into stagnancies of emotionless routine, and who find themselves facing the choice of either doing some really hard work, or simply (that's an understatement!) calling it quits. For many, understandably but unfortunately, giving up often seems to be the easier road. 

In fact, most of the issues couples face cannot be solved by a week of intensive therapy. I wish that were the case, but it's not. Sorry about that. For those who choose to put in the needed effort, however, the results can be well worth it.

Is Hope Springs worth seeing? Absolutely! And well worth the $8 ticket price. On the other hand, was the popcorn and soda worth the $10 they cost? No. Absolutely not! 

What are your thoughts? Did you see the movie? Say more about that...

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