Kay (played by Meryl Streep) has been married to Arnold (by Tommy Lee Jones) for over 30 years. They live a settled, comfortable married life that is driven by Arnold’s routine. Lately Kay really feels things have become distant and cold between them and she is deeply disappointed that Arnold seems to have totally lost interest in her. She wants to do something about this and when she seeks an answer to bring the “spark” and warmth back for them, she discovers Dr Feld (by Steve Carell), a psychologist who specialises in issues for long-term marriages. He runs a successful intensive couples program at Great Hope Springs in Maine, and she enrols herself and Arnold. At first, Arnold views this program with disdain – he sees nothing wrong with their life together (and he views the program as a hugely expensive waste of time). He eventually (but reluctantly) attends with Kay. They spend the week in Great Hope Springs and face the issues that arise through sessions with Dr Feld. Is there nothing to fix? Is Kay hoping to rekindle something that should just be a lovely memory now? Is there really no hope for them? ….
This movie is billed as a comedy, but it actually exposes some quite sensitive real-life issues faced by couples in long term relationships. For this reason, the movie is brave and marvellous. It seems that in Hollywood key facets of our intimate relationships are treated as taboo and they are rarely addressed in movies – but they do appear here and no punches are pulled. Sex (particularly for those over 50) and relationships are discussed openly and realistically. Both Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are excellent as Kay and Arnold. Their awkwardness and anxiety is palpable and this results in their sessions with Dr Feld being wonderfully authentic. The film isn’t a comedy – unless you find disappointment and frustration funny – it’s really quite a serious drama. Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Kay is sensitive, honest and natural. She has been nominated for a 2013 Golden Globe for this performance, which confirms once again her marvellous talent. It’s a good movie.
Made in 2012. Directed by David Frankel