hope springs

“Sometimes to keep the magic, you need to learn a few tricks,” says a line in the movie poster advertised in the newspaper. Hmm, I wonder what those tricks are? And just seeing the faces of  Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell in this movie added more to my curiosity to see it on the big screen.

Hope Springs is a story about a married couple in their 60s whose relationship have grown too comfortable and boring.  After 31 years of being married, with all their children out of the house, living their own lives, what is there to look forward to for a couple who have been together for ages?  How do you keep the romance alive despite all the years that went by, the familiarity that made it… well… stale?  Can love and sex still happen between a wife and a husband over 60?

I have heard that in a relationship, the success lies on the woman.  That it is the woman who “carries” the relationship.  If this is the belief of the writer of this movie, then that must be the reason why the character of Meryl Streep was the one who felt the more neglected and the “heroic” one who took a huge step by putting herself and her husband in an intensive marriage counseling with a doctor they barely knew, using her own savings to pay for a one-week counseling in a place called Great Hope Springs — for the sake of reviving her marriage.

This movie is a no-fuss movie.  There’s not much action going on, no laugh-out-loud moments but still I fell in love with the movie because of its truthfulness when it comes to talking about issues on intimacy and sex and of course, love. I find it uncomfortable yet interesting seeing the “behind closed-door” moments between Meryl and Tommy doing those “sexual” exercises prescribed by their therapist to bring back their intimacy as husband-and-wife. It was bittersweet for in the beginning it was the woman who did all the effort in seduction and the man was quite reluctant each time, obviously indifferent and finding the whole counseling a silly thing.  Which was ironic.  Why is it so difficult to be intimate with someone you love?  Does romance no longer exists between two aging partners?

If there is one big thing that I am scared of, it is marriage.  Unfaithful husband, lazy-good-for-nothing husband, abusive husband, etc., these are the factors that make me wanna lose faith on marriage.  But it is also a thing that fascinates me because despite all the horror stories I’ve heard, there are some that would inspire me to believe in it.

Hope Springs up to this very hour still fascinates me.  As a moviegoer, I think Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones did great as a wife and a husband in the movie, depicting a couple who are seemingly perfect on the outside — children with stable jobs and relationships, living comfortably in a house they own with complete home appliances, still together despite old age, what more could they ask for? — but actually got deep-seated issues which they swept under the rug for a long time and now bothering their present life together as an old couple living alone in a house now too big for them without the kids.

And one doesn’t have to be married and old to get the movie.  If you’ve ever been in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, this movie will remind you that having a nice car, nice clothes, a nice job or a pretty or handsome face, or being fun on a date are not the key to a lasting relationship.  Oh, it is so much more than that!

Love without effort is infatuation.  Putting in the effort to keep the fire alive in a relationship is true love!

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