Let’s talk about sex

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

OU don’t have to be mar­ried for 31 years like the stuck-ina-rut cou­ple Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones play in Hope Springs to feel in­spired by the film’s mes­sage about the im­por­tance of keep­ing your re­la­tion­ship alive.

It sounds like a cliche be­cause it is a cliche – and more. It’s a cottage in­dus­try, one that’s launched count­less af­ter­noon talk-shows and shelves of self-help books.

De­spite a trailer that sug­gests pat, glossy su­per­fi­cial­ity, Hope Springs un­earths some quiet and of­ten un­com­fort­able truths.

The first pro­duced script from TV writer and pro­ducer Vanessa Tay­lor ( Alias, Game of Thrones), Hope Springs ex­plores the com­pli­cated dy­nam­ics that de­velop over a long-term re­la­tion­ship with great hon­esty and lit­tle judg­ment.

What looks like a stan­dard rom-com turns into some­thing akin to a con­tem­po­rary Ing­mar Bergman film.

Streep and Jones’s per­for­mances el­e­vate the rather straight­for­ward di­rec­tion from David Frankel ( The Devil Wears Prada), which in­cludes some painfully lit­eral mu­si­cal se­lec­tions and a few hokey comic sit­u­a­tions.

Streep’s char­ac­ter, Kay, sells clothes for mid­dle-aged women in a chain store. She and her hus­band, Arnold, live in a com­fort­able home in Omaha, Ne­braska. Their chil­dren have grown up and moved out, leav­ing them to set­tle into a drab rou­tine.

Tired of their sex­less com­pla­cency, Kay in­sists they take part in an in­tense, one-week cou­ples’ ther­apy ses­sion with the soft-spo­ken but per­sis­tent Dr Bernard Feld (Steve Carell, play­ing a solid straight man).

The ther­apy scenes are exquisitely acted and paced, with body lan­guage and slight fa­cial ges­tures that speak vol­umes.

The si­lences pro­vide ten­sion and in­ti­macy, but once these two do be­gin an­swer­ing ques­tions, they re­veal re­grets and re­sent­ments, yearn­ings and fan­tasies they’d never dared to speak aloud be­fore.

With­out a sin­gle spe­cial ef­fect or ex­plo­sion, Hope Springs is a movie with real punch – so sur­pris­ingly ef­fec­tive, in fact, it will make you want to go home and have sex with your spouse – or at least share a longer hug.

opens to­day.

Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones star in

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