Question 3: Hope Springs Movie

Hope Springs is a film depicting the harsh life of the couple of Kay and Arnold whose marriage needs a reigniting. They both feel, and rightly so that their marriage lacks the spark that it once used to have and are desperate to get help. This is evident in Kay’s decisions to secure space in a week-long marriage counseling seminar away from their home. In the seminar, they spend a night in the same bed, something that rarely happened back in their house. Eventually, their marriage is saved after numerous instances in which they seemed to be on the verge of separation. To portray the troubles in the marriage of Kay and Arnold, the director employs the use of nonverbal communication. The film incorporates changes in the nonverbal responses throughout the film to depict different states of emotions among the two lovers. The movements, style of dressing, posture, proxemics and posture portray a couple that is faced with different emotions over time.

The behavior of the couple communicates a damaged emotional state and especially Arnold. After more than thirty years of marriage, they sleep in different rooms implying a loss of intimacy among the two people. This behavior communicates the fact that Arnold has lost interest in making love to his wife anymore and is not disturbed when they sleep in separate rooms. This is despite attempts by Kay to revive their marriage, something that Arnold brushes aside. In addition, one instance presents the two people buying each other anniversary presents that do not reflect intimacy. Arnold buys Kay a new cable TV package implying that he sees each of them having lifestyles even when they are in the same house.

In another instance, Kay is convincing Arnold of her plans to attend a marriage counseling session together. However Arnold is adamant that their marriage has no troubles perhaps implying his displeasure in making things right. Although he does not communicate his intentions of not solving their troubles, it is quite evident that his nonverbal actions communicate the same. Despite this, Arnold follows the advice of a friend and buys her wife cheap flowers and earrings. The choice of the gifts is a pointer to the fact that Arnold is no longer interested in physical intimacy with his wife.

Even when Arnold ultimately accepts to go on the trip, his actions communicate a lack of emotions for his wife. When the counselor starts the therapy, Arnold is adamant that their marriage does not require help because according to him, it faces no trouble. On the first night on the trip, Arnold refuses to sleep with his wife and instead insists on sleeping on a pull out  bed in another room. Clearly, even though he escorted his wife on the counseling trip, it turns out that his intentions were not to save their marriage. A description of how Arnold does not touch his wife embarrasses him because it portrays him as someone no longer interested in sex from his wife.

Another action that shows Arnold’s displeasure with his wife and the marriage in general is when he complains that the counselor is too expensive. This is a statement that implies that the counseling is more expensive than saving their marriage. In fact, Arnold laments that the entire trip is a total waste of time and money and wishes that they had remained at their home. Moreover, when the doctor asks them when they last had sex, Arnold does not have any clue whereas his wife remembers the exact date. This means that Arnold is not even bothered by the fact that they no longer make love to each other, something that started after he got an injury.

During their counseling sessions, the couple is given a task of holding each other’s hand for some time in the evening. However, Arnold refuses to do his assignment pointing to the fact that he does not feel anything for his wife. Even when they finally sleep on the same bed again, Arnold is confident that it is enough and does not want to touch his wife. However, as the counseling session continues, they soon start feeling intimate towards each other and this is evidenced by the changes in non verbal actions that Arnold communicates. One morning, Kay is surprised to find Arnold sleeping next to her while holding her waist.

Soon, Arnold starts to communicate different feelings towards his wife and this is communicated non verbally through his actions. In the next sessions, Arnold opens up describing how he had fantasies of his wife giving him oral sex even though he had denied ever wanting the same in reality. Later, his wife is given an exercise of touching him while he was fully clothed. Although he initially refutes the advances, he starts getting an erection after she touches his crotch thus indicating a change in emotions on Arnold’s part.

The use of nonverbal communication is effective in portraying the changing emotions in Arnold. Initially, his emotions portrayed a man who was not interested in having intimacy with his wife. However, as the film progresses, the emotions of his wife communicate a man whose emotions have changed and wants to reignite their marriage. Overall, the mannerism and behaviors of Arnold including his movements are effective in depicting the changing emotional nature of Arnold with respect to Kay and their marriage.


Works cited

Hope Springs. Roadshow, 2012. Film.


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