(PG) Roadshow DVD/BD
This is one of those films that succeed on the performance of its leads. If you believe in them, the film works. And this film really works.
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones make you believe in their married couple of 31 years.
Kay is mannered and tolerant; Arnold is all bluster and gripes. They are in a rut and have lost the spark in their marriage. With children having long since left the nest, both are at a lose end. Kay, particularly, wants something more and so books them both into marriage counselling.
The unspoken loneliness of Streep’s Kay is palpable and you really go with these two as they work through what is missing in their marriage.
The surprise is Steve Carrell in a serious role as a marriage counsellor. With each frame you think he’s going to crack a joke, but instead he carefully guides the Soameses through their relationship, giving them homework and helping them each step of the way.
There is humour in the film but it is in the situations the couple find themselves in rather the forced and laboured.
I don’t think you have to be a person of a certain age to appreciate this film. At points it is so easy to relate to the inertia and reality of the day-to-day minutiae in the relationship that one winces. Disconnectedness can happen to any couple.
The bedrock of the film is the way it compassionately deals with the Soameses and their way back from a place of familiarity and boredom, their pitfalls and reconnections. As the title suggests, hope springs from the joy of reconnecting with one another.