I hope you’ll read my discussion with writer David Templeton about the film in the Pacific Sun. Here are excerpts — and click here for the complete article. (Warning: spoiler alert.)
“What bothered me, at first,” Price says, “was that the filmmakers seemed to be making fun of something that is an enormous issue for seniors, something that isn’t really a laughing matter. I couldn’t see what Kay [Streep] saw in Arnold [Jones], and I couldn’t understand how two people in their 60s, in 2012, ended up with this 1950s-style marriage. They sleep in separate rooms, they never talk, she does all the cooking and cleaning even though they both have full-time jobs, they don’t talk about anything except his job and golf, and they never do anything together—and by anything I especially mean…sex.”
…”What was wonderful about the film,” Price says, “once it got to Hope Springs and the therapy sessions, was that it settled down and took its time to flesh out some very real concerns and fears that older people have. At first we think that Arnold is the one who turned away from Kay, but then she admits that it was she who stopped having sex with him. But by then, after she started to miss it, there were so many hurt feelings and misunderstandings between them, that it was just a big mess.”
…”It actually bothered me a little,” says Price, “that Dr. Feld didn’t suggest that they get a medical opinion. If something changes in a man’s sex drive, there is often a medical reason. Men don’t stop wanting sex overnight, even if their wife did turn them down one or two times too often. That might happen gradually, but if it’s sudden, then a man really needs to see a doctor. In this movie, we learn that he’s having erectile problems, and is afraid to put it to the test, so he avoids sex. But erectile problems could be an indication of heart disease, or diabetes, or any number of other treatable diseases. That message was never put into the movie, and it should have been, by the therapist, if no one else.”
…”I wonder,” asks Price, “if, at any point in this couple’s history, there was ever any sex between them that was for her pleasure? The therapist even—and this completely shocked me—asked if she’d ever had orgasms…’vaginal or otherwise.’ Excuse me? Orgasms come from the clitoris. Was this guy trained in the 1940s?
I also encourage you to talk about it with your partner if you have one, with your friends, with anyone who will participate. That’s my mission after all — to talk out loud about senior sex — and this film lubricates the topic, so to speak.