Review originally written for the Doha Film Institute website.
Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold’s (Tommy Lee Jones) 31 years of marriage seem to reach a dead end of a monotonous routine-filled lifestyle. Kay ventures into a week-long intensive marriage counselling session in Canada. She’s expecting miracles; Arnold thinks it’s just a ‘stupid waste of money’.
‘Can you change your marriage?’ asks Kay, who’s been living with her husband in the same house, sleeping in separate rooms for years with very little communication and the absence of intimacy. She can only hope for a solution through a professional third party.
By joining therapy sessions, they’re forced to change scenery and break their daily routines, but not without Arnold’s abstinence of cooperation and positive attitude. He bullies his wife persistently and she is on the verge of losing the little hope she has left.
When a middle-aged couple is involved in the narrative with two giants of the cinema industry, we expect amazing. The only thing that’s impeccable is their acting; you can’t take your eyes off of their on-screen chemistry. Every moment of their therapy session is moving, and as much as it’s a clichéd deja-vu in most relationship pictures, Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones perform with such honesty that it makes us want to give both a big tender hug.
There is not much of a smart script, but the approach to the development is interesting mainly because of the cast. They can deliver simple lines in the most effective ways, and that’s what covers the flat directing, average soundtrack and passable screenplay.
Audiences are likely to still enjoy this universal theme that’s genuinely delivered; what’s been said resonates with some magical moments that capture us throughout the film. Needless to say again, it’s a pleasure to watch Streep and Jones together: they’re simply addictive.