The Lovers is a movie about a married couple who, unbeknownst to each other, are each having an affair with a younger lover. But then (and you see this in the trailer) they wake up holding each other one morning, kissing, maybe even enjoying it, and figure out as they wake up that it is their spouse they are enjoying kissing and they quickly jump up and away from each other. It is a comedic moment—they are spouses, they have kissed before, but not lately, it seems, and what is going on that they are enjoying each other in this way? The trailer plays the movie to be a comedy, and the moments in the trailer are funny, many of them. The movie doesn’t have a lot more laughs than what is seen in the trailer, at least not out loud ones. There are moments that seem to be funny but the movie audience may not laugh because it is hard to tell what the story is telling us: are these things funny or sad? There is a great deal of sadness in the movie as we watch each of the members of the family (wife, husband, son) struggle and grieve about the crashing of this couple.
Spoiler Alert: this article will now move to aspects of the whole movie and the ending, so go see it first if you don’t want to know how The Lovers ends.
The Lovers can provide a number of issues to look at, if one is willing to go there, is willing to explore the movie. The main characters never have a lingering verbal conversation. The longest “moment” they have of any connection with one another besides having sex may have been when they first have sex—there are looks, and he moves towards her, more looking at each other, and they both realize that they want each other and they open up to having sex with each other. But there are no discussions between the two where they might work on the relationship. Perhaps that is why the movie ends up where it does, with them wanting each other, even as they get what they want with their clandestine lovers. They get what they want, but they don’t. Of course they don’t—what they want is a satisfying relationship, but that doesn’t happen anywhere in this movie. The main characters (husband, wife, son, husband’s lover, wife’s lover) are all rather desperate as they look for something in life that they can’t find. And the lovers (wife, husband, and their lovers) seem to only use sex to feel better in a relationship. Is this movie telling us that sex can be great, it can be rekindled, it can drive us towards someone (or some two others) but it is not enough? Does the movie and its makers believe that it takes more than good sex to make a relationship fulfilling? And are they saying that getting what you want isn’t always what you really need?
In couples therapy and sex therapy, it is often the case that hotter sex is something that can be sought after and achieved, but there is almost always the need for more and deeper intimacy for most couples to get there, to get to hotter sex and to a better relationship. A couple can certainly want to come to couples and/or sex therapy to have hotter sex, and they will usually have to work on the relationship to get a better sexual relationship. They will usually have to work on being intimate with each other, and giving and receiving to get to better sex and a better relationship. The couples who get the most out of therapy are the ones that get the whole package, that work on their relationship, their intimacy, and their sexual relationship. So be prepared to work on all those areas when you go to sex therapy. Be prepared to work on all those areas when you go to couples therapy. Many therapists will want to nudge you towards optimum health, which usually includes a healthy self, a healthy relationship, and a healthy sex life.