Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hope Springs

Nadine and I did it just in time.  Today was the last showing of Hope Springs the new romantic non-comedy staring Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep.  The film makers portray an older married couple renewing their desire for a more intimate and enjoyable life together after falling into a deadening routine.

I believe that any couple that has been married 30 years or more (like us) can identify somewhere with Jones and Streep's portrayals.  I found myself appreciating the counseling skills of the Steve Carrell character who asks insightful and timely questions that gets them talking and listening to each other again.  The story feels even handed in dealing with the typical male and female issues/concerns within a marriage.  Neither partner is the "bad" guy.  While both have contributed to the decline of the relationship, mostly through fear and distraction, Meryl Streep's character is the first to become desperate enough to arrange for a intensive marriage retreat at $4000.

This was more than a movie to me.  I came away inspired to make the next years with Nadine better than ever.  After the initial foundational years, the season in pastoral ministry, and the raising of four kids to adulthood, I am ready to build the next good thing together whatever that appears to be.

Be aware that the film straightforwardly addresses very intimate aspects of marriage, though I don't believe that it crossed the line into the crude.  I felt connected to the other fifty people watching it around us but there were moments when we glanced around to make sure no one we knew was in the theater with us!

If you haven't already seen it, you'll have to wait for the DVD or its last go round in the .99 theaters.
KethaniKethani by Eric Brown

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The premise and the opening chapter engaged me. The focus on ordinary people of rural Britain would be good. I like books where the protagonist(s) is someone like me (except I'm not British). I appreciated how the concept of being resurrected as often as necessary affected species-long assumptions and supposed limitations. However, I feel about this book like I did after viewing the last episodes of the ABC series "Lost". I felt that I had been provoked to think differently about some things, but the story feels unfinished. There are also hints dropped that are not resolved. Who really are the Kethani? (Who were the good and bad entities on the Lost island?) It doesn't seem to matter to the author but it matters to me. The book works on the level of provoking philosophical/religious speculation, but it fails badly in inspiring human readers toward a better future on earth. Maybe the author is tricking us like the Kethani character tricks the main characters into killing themselves in the last chapter so they can become cosmic evangelists. Maybe he wants to turn us from the hope that physical immortality would be good for human souls.

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