Romance, weddings, and heterosexuality, along with homosexuality and other sexual concepts have been among the most important subjects for the film contents. One of the basic purposes of making films on the subjects is to help the general public become aware of their sexual identity, as well as explore the issues related to sexuality and marriage. American director named, David Frankel presented a romantic comedy film in the year 2012, which was entitled as “Hope Springs.” The movie sheds light on the life of an elderly couple who have lost all the charm and spark of their married life over the course of years. They have slept in separate rooms for years and did not have any sexual interaction, which dried their relationship to the brink of break up. Instead of filing for divorce and separating their ways, the couple makes an attempt to reignite their love and affection towards each other by taking marriage counseling. The film “Hope Springs” may have been the depiction of reigniting the love among an elderly couple; however, it sheds light on the complexity of maintaining the sexual relationship in the later part of the married life.
According to the plot of the movie, Kay and Arnold have been married for decades and numbers of years have passed since they had any physical or sexual interaction. The lack of passion and sexual relationship in marriage is disturbing for Kay, as she contacts a marriage counselor and book session with him. on the other hand, Arnold finds the idea quite ridiculous, as he thinks that there is nothing wrong with their marriage. However, in his attempt to make his wife happy, he attends the session with an annoyed and aggravated mood, which becomes even more aggressive when the counselor, keeps asking them questions about their sex life. The session ends on a bitter note, as the coupe is not in a good mood. Later that night, the couple spend their night in the same bed after the number of years and Kay finds herself in the arms of her husband when she wakes up, which makes her happy and reassured about the progress of counseling and their marriage. In the later events, they make an attempt to rekindle their physical relationship, however, fail in that due to the unfavorable circumstances. The couple continues receiving marriage counseling and finally reignites their love and marriage by having a physical relationship in years. This not only brings them closer to each other but also assures them of the need and importance of the sexual relations in the marriage. After getting that pleasure, the couple is able to find a new meaning in their marriage and renew their marriage vows in order to support and love each other till death and even after that (Frankel, 2012).
Rubin (1984) has explained in his article that sexuality is one of the definite realities of the human beings and sex is the most basic need of the human beings, which they have to satisfy in order to lead happy and healthy lives. According to the author, the concept of sexual essentialism which sheds light on the fact that sex is an undeniable natural force has been a part of the human life and their relationship since the time of their inception. The sexual essentialism has been supported by the social institutions of the society, which also promote the reproduction of human beings, in order to increase the prosperity of society. The author has also argued in his article that sexual derive may have been biologically constructed in the bodies of human beings, however, it is also inculcated by the social constructs of the society. The point is evident in the light of the film in the way that with the increase in age, the sexual derive of the couple keeps decreasing. In the case of the film, the couple was also passing through that phase of their life; however, sex is a basic need of the marital relationship, its absence was creating a conflict in their relationship. When the couple sought the counseling for their issue, they were not told to come to terms with it, as it was due to the lessening of the sexual drives of their bodies. However, the counselor guided them to get closer to each other which depict the role of the social construct in the matter (Rubin, 1984).
Maclaran, (2017) has talked about hegemonic heterosexuality in his article while shedding light on the fact that the people belonging to the two genders have their own competencies as well as drawbacks, which they have to carry along, in order to make a sexual relationship strong and happy. He has mentioned that the interests of the men and women are completely different from each other most of the times; which can become an important source of conflict among them. However, the couples work their difference due to their mutual attraction, love, and dependence on each other and make their lives happier. The author has also described that women desire more of the emotional intimacy and less sexual activity, while the men want more sexual activity and least emotional intimacy as their respective desire increase their level of satisfaction. However, the couples work out their difference in order to support each other. In the case of the film, the absence of a physical connection from the marriage was not a big issue for the husband; however, it affected the wife. So, even after having conflicts, they worked out their differences and found the key to a happy and satisfied life (Maclaran, 2017).
Stein, (2013) has talked about social control in a society in terms of sexuality and sexual relationships. The author has argued that society has defined some rules and practices which have to be followed by all the individuals of the society keeping in view the social control of the society. The social control of the society in terms of sexuality had been quite strict in the previous times when the gay, lesbian and transgender couples were not allowed to reveal their orientations to the society. The society also maintained the social control that physical relationship should be an important part of the marital relationship and the couple should seek a separation in the case it is missing. However, the movie depicts that social control has become bit relaxant in modern times as it gives more freedom to the couples to make and follow their own decision. In the case of the film, the couple made an effort to reignite their relationship, instead of following the social control of separating (Stein, 2013).
Sexuality and physical relationships are important parts of the life of human beings, which have been portrayed through the medium of films. The films try to challenge the notions of society and present the public with a new point of view. On the other hand, the films also help the individuals to explore the concepts related to sexuality, in order to become more knowledgeable and work towards making their relationships happy and successful.
Frankel, D. (2012). Hope Springs. Mandate Pictures.
Maclaran, P. (2017). Judith Butler: Gender Performativity and Heterosexual Hegemony. Canonical Authors in Consumption Theory, 227-233.
Rubin, G. (1984). Thinking Sex: Notes for a radical theory of the politics of sexuality. Social Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies; A reader, 100-133.
Stein, E. (2013). Forms of desire: Sexual orientation and the social constructionist controversy. Routledge.
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