My walking partner pulled her husband to this movie and was surprised that he enjoyed it. She was vague about the story line and wanted me to bring Mike to watch it. I knew it was about empty nesters and their lack of communication and am quite sure Mike and I do not have this problem, and if there is a communication problem between us, it should already exist.
Instead, I pulled Bee along just because it was much easier to date her than my husband.
Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) have been sleeping in separate bedrooms for many years. He rejects her advances and does not allow her to touch him.
She learns of a marriage counsellor in Maine who might be able to change her marriage and paid for the two to fly there for a week’s counselling session. He is resistant but agrees eventually. The counsellor makes them do a daily homework to renew their intimacy and the week ends positively when Arnold books a romantic dinner and hotel room. Like most men, he is careful with money so this is a big deal. (He bought her a water-heater for the bathroom for her birthday because she needs it. As if you don’t use it? She counters.) Unfortunately, all return to normal back at home and Kay contemplates leaving Arnold.
Maryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, with their vast acting experience, are so comfortable with each other that they didn’t have to do any acting. I had expected the comical Steve Carrell, as the marriage counsellor, to be funny but he was straight-faced.
The simple story line tugs a few heart-strings. Like Kay, many of my friends do not voice out their unhappiness or desires to their husbands, preferring to keep quiet to keep peace. Lack of sex or intimacy is apparently not an issue with Asian women, unlike their Western counterpart. Empty nesters are indifferent to spousal companionship, and date nights are unheard of among the empty nesters I know. Many even travel on vacation without each other. This movie perhaps sounded a warning bell to my friends and I, to rekindle and nurture our current relationship and not let the flame be snuffed out unknowingly.