There are no thundering intergalactic robot chase scenes. No blaring hip-hop soundtrack. No special effects. No one has super powers, and not a single star is under 50. In a summer packed with noisy blockbusters for the twee-teen crowd, Hope Springs is what AARP Magazine calls movies for grown-ups.
In a refreshing change from its usual pursuit of the youth culture, Hollywood has actually debuted several movies recently that focus on the opposite end of the age spectrum. Hope Springs stars Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones as 60-somethings Kay and Arnold, old marrieds who are trying to rekindle the sexual passion of their youth with the help of marriage counselor Steve Carell. With unflinching directness, the 60-plus stars (Meryls 63; Tommy, 65) channel the hesitant and somewhat embarrassed feelings of mature adults trying to reintroduce sexual intimacy into a relationship that has long been platonic.
The universal themes of love, sex and personal discovery also provide the framework for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a delightful film populated with Britains finest post-60 actors and actresses. Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Tom Wilkinson light up the screen as English retirees lured to a rundown retirement hotel in India that fails to live up to its exotic brochures. Cleverly scripted and filled with memorable lines, the film is both poignant in its portrayal of late-life disappointment and hopeful in its message that you're never too old to embrace life.
"It's tough to come up with new superlatives for Meryl Streep, but the 63-year-old actress delivers her most frankly sexual performance yet in "Hope Springs." As a frustrated Omaha housewife trying to rekindle her marriage, Streep gets down and dirty on a hotel-room floor, in a darkened movie theater and even alone in bed. Some of these shockers are surely on-screen firsts from a woman we last saw in "The Iron Lady," but Streep does it all with sublime humor, elegance and dignity." - Rafer Guzman, Newsday
Charming and thoughtful, movies for grown-ups speak to the common experience of mature adults. Kendal at Oberlins program committee regularly shows favorite films for residents to enjoy.
Photo: stubz co