Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hope Springs - A Lesson in Subtlety

A dear friend and I enjoyed a girl's afternoon (most needed, well deserved. and much appreciated). We went to see the movie Hope Springs, featuring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell.

In Hope Springs, according to Yahoo movie description, "Kay and Arnold are a devoted couple, but decades of marriage have left Kay wanting to spice things up and reconnect with her husband. When she hears of a renowned couple's specialist in the small town of Great Hope Springs, she attempts to persuade her skeptical husband, a steadfast man of routine, to get on a plane for a week of marriage therapy. Just convincing the stubborn Arnold to go on the retreat is hard enough -- the real challenge for both of them comes as they shed their bedroom hang-ups and try to re-ignite the spark that caused them to fall for each other in the first place."

The acting is a brilliant presentation of subtlety. All three actors are are able to deliver the most minor facial expression and speech tones, yet the expression and tone carries an amazingly strong emotional impact.

For instance, the therapist (Steve Carell's character) might raise his brows and give half-smile and a slight tilt of his head, and he might ask questions in an inquisitive encouraging voice. Kay might give a weak smile or catch just the inner edge of her lower lip between her teeth, and might answer in a sigh-filled voice or with hesitant speech. Arnold might give a sharp look to the side or say something in a slightly dry tone, and your sympathy for Kay or the therapist, or both, is immediately aroused.

That's what I am striving for in my writing.

No flowing, overly descriptive purple prose, but using the fewest words possible to show precisely what needs to be shown.

Hope Springs. Great study of subtlety. Awesome movie. A must see!

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