Tuesday, August 7, 2012
I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert's book Committed, her follow up to the phenomenally successful Eat, Pray Love. (click for T&T commentary on this food in film book/movie) In it, she examines, dissects, enlightens, muses and laments on the subject of western marriage, along with the marriage customs and outlooks from a few other cultures. Ultimately, she comes to the conclusion that to a large degree, women come up short in the whole marriage scenario; but despite this fact, the state of matrimony, whether it be legal or symbolic, straight or gay, mixed race, religious or secular, is a state that the human condition longs for and will continue to be something worth fighting for.
And while still ruminating over all that Gilbert had to impart on the subject of marriage, my next screening happened to be Meryl Streep's new movie Hope Springs .
(Director: David Frankel (“The Devil Wears Prada”) / Writer: Vanessa Taylor).
Streep plays Kay - 31 years married to Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) (click for interview with TLJ) . As with most marriages where two people have weathered the storms of that much togetherness, life has become routine. She fixes him one egg and one piece of bacon every morning, in which he comes downstairs, puts his head in the paper, quickly eats the expected meal and heads to work. They get household gifts like upgraded cable subscription for their anniversary, he watches ESPN every night while she cleans up after dinner.
If it were just that her marriage was predictable, I'm certain Kay, with her middle class suburban mind-set, hairstyle and JCPenny clothing, would never have attempted to stir the pot of her marriage to taciturn, stoic Arnold. But it's the fact that they no longer share a bed, haven't for years; her one attempt at seduction failing miserably, that mobilizes Kay to find a way to not only restore sex, but intimacy into her dying union.
Hope Springs is a thoughtful, character driven movie; yet, at its core, it's a very funny comedy. Dr. Feld's (Steve Carell) intensive couple's therapy methods prove hilarious when put into action by Streep's very unworldly character and Jones' trademark straight man comic timing.
To reiterate, it's the results of the Dr's methods which are funny, but not Carell. He down plays his usual clueless, silly, deadpan comedy routine, into a role that acts merely as a necessary catalyst for the story, but nothing more.
What I like about this movie and the other movie out this year which features characters in their 60's, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - both films prove that sex is ageless! This is powerful reinforcement for those already in their golden years and those of us afraid of sliding down the other side of the hill.
“Sometimes life is too hard to be alone, and sometimes life is too good to be alone.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage
Hope Springs opens Wednesday, August 8, 2012