A well put together and nuanced comedy with a great performance from Tommy Lee Jones, proving an equal and apt match for the talents of Meryl Streep who plays his loving wife of 31 years as they enter counselling for their stalled marriage. Just the right amount of seriousness and comedy, or comedic seriousness, for the very real and often intolerably difficult subject matter, it paints in many ways a palatable veneer on the inevitability of death as we watch the two central characters wrench their souls to debate whether a dwindling depreciation is the only thing they can realistically expect from their long extant marriage, or whether the final change of divorce or the equally tough facing up to reality might allow for a reversal of the trend.
Given that the timescale is just over one week in their lives, as the wife strong-arms her husband into a couple’s therapy vacation in Maine, the film deals with the issues at hand ably and you will probably recognise at least one person you know in each of the pair, but the inherent constraints do leave us wondering a little what the post-film prognosis might be. With Steve Carell and, briefly, Elisabeth Shue in support.
Interestingly, a recent scientific study looking at the longterm lifespan of couples found that the ones destined for success and stability were those who worked together constantly to solve the little day to day sundries which are precisely the sort of things that often get put to one side, the humdrum such as fixing a leaky tap or getting the shopping right, whereas those who regarded these constant pop-ups in a relationship as merely trivial were the ones who perished in the fires of deceased relationship hell.
Presumably this is all to do with basic communication, but also the constantly reinforced idea of working together as a well functioning unit and being listened to and taken seriously by your other half and indeed that boost of satisfaction from having solved a problem, even a small one, although I think I’m right in remembering that the study also concluded allowing the male partner to indulge in sexual consort with many libidinous women at the same time was also a normal and healthy way to speed the wheels to everlasting marital bliss. Yup, pretty sure …