Hope springs eternal in the human breast -
Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man (1734)
These are the antecedents for the brand new film called Hope Springs which opened today. Starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell, the plot is fairly straightforward. Streep and Jones play a couple called Kay and Arnold who have been married for 31 years. They live in Omaha, their kids have grown up and moved out. He’s an executive in an accounting firm and she works in a ladies clothing shop.
Streep’s Kay is dissatisfied with the way her marriage is at the moment. Jones’s Arnold is oblivious. They’ve settled into a patterns and habits which no longer include sex, either planned or spontaneous, as part of their married lives.
They’re not too old for sex, but they’ve slept in separate bedrooms for so long that opportunities are infrequent. In fact, at the beginning of the film, Kay makes an overture, while dressed in a brand new negligee. But Arnold isn’t interested, and shoos her back to her own bedroom.
Every morning is the same – Arnold arrives downstairs just as a plate with bacon and eggs with coffee is being served. He immediately buries himself in the newspaper before leaving. Evenings aren’t much different – Arnold falls asleep in his chair watching the Golf Channel.
Kay decides to get ahead of the situation, so tries looking at some books on how to solve marital problems. Alas, all of these fall short, so she books a week of intense marriage counseling with Steve Carell’s Dr. Feld who has authored books, has a website, and is based in Great Hope Springs in Maine. Arnold doesn’t want to go, doesn’t see the need for it, thinks that Kay has wasted her money – but manages to board the plane just before the doors close.
As expected, Arnold is dead set against working to find a way to fix any problems his marriage may have because, in his eyes, the marriage doesn’t need fixing. You can tell from the body language that Dr. Feld has his hands full with these two.