Movie Monday – Hope Springs

Hope Springs is a little deceiving in that I expected it to be more of a comedy than it turned out to be. It does have moments and I laughed a little but it’s also sad in many ways and yet it’s also heartwarming. I enjoyed it but Don would have hated it. (Luckily I watched it alone.) It is an odd mix of characters and chemistry. Some worked for me, some not but despite a few complaints I still enjoyed it on the whole. Things I didn’t like so much include Meryl Streep’s character. She was too mousy and soft for me but I tried to allow for the possibility that such a character type could actually exist, particularly in the older generation. Steve Carell was an odd choice for the therapist. His comedic background cast a shadow over his character making it difficult to understand if he was supposed to be funny or just there. I also found the lack of emotional intimacy between the characters difficult for me to relate to. Not unbelievable, just not relate-able. Don and I share an “us against the world” philosophy and we share everything with each other which could be attributed to generational differences but I also think we are both lucky to have found a partner who shares the value of sharing oneself. I cannot imagine choosing to live your life with a person and not sharing all of your self with that person, the good, the bad, the ugly, the past, dreams, all of it. I often hear couples (in real life and in media) make jokes about topics that are off-limits in front of one another, assumably because they are threatening to the other person. Why? It’s in the past. It’s part of who the other person is and who they are now. At least that’s how we think of it; nothing has ever been off-limits between us. That is not the case in Hope Springs. During the therapy sessions many questions are asked that the couple have never discussed. It is sad to me to see even a fictional life of two people who have been together for 31 years and yet have shared so little of themselves with each other. I am sure that there are couples out there who might relate to this type of emotional distance from their partner and that also makes me sad. However, it is heartwarming to watch the couple make strides to bridge that gap. It’s a slow and bumpy road but it ends well and you can’t help but feel good after watching this movie.

Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
~ Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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