Hope Springs


WRITTEN BY: Vanessa Taylor
DIRECTED BY: David Frankel
STARRING: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carrell
RATING: 4 stars

Watching Meryl Streep perform oral sex on Tommy Lee Jones is possibly the most funny, awkward and embarrassing thing you will watch at the cinema this year - and it's comedy gold. I think I enjoyed this film more than someone my age probably should. I'm in my 20's, while Hope Springs' target audience is the over 50 age bracket. Yet, maybe that's proof that this film is not just for "the oldies" but that it's themes are relevant to everyone. It's about marriage and middle age, but it's also about life in general and how we find fulfilment and happiness in our lives.
After being married for 31 years and raising two children, Kay (Streep) and Arnold (Jones) find themselves in a rut, except that only Kay is concerned about it. The couple have not even touched each other in four years, except for a quick kiss on the cheek every morning. So, Kay insists they attend a week-long expensive counselling program with Dr Bernard Feld (Steve Carrell) to work on their relationship and their sex life.

My main criticism of the story is that we don't ever really learn what has caused Kay and Arnold's relationship to fall apart. It can't just be about sex. Relationships are far more complicated than that. Yet, Hope Springs would have us believe that as long as you're having sex, everything will be fine. Nonetheless, Vanessa Taylor's script is heart-warming at times, often funny and appropriately embarrassing too. It's a shame the story wasn't more complete.

It is the performances that really make the film convincing. I want Jones to be nominated for an Oscar for his performance. He is that good. Unfortunately, it probably won't happen. He stole every scene from Streep though, which is hard to do since she is arguably one of the greatest actors of all time. Streep's performance is still fantastic, especially when her character tries to seduce her husband. The leads are well supported by Carrell, who plays it straight, but his supposedly sympathetic lines and "sexercise" suggestions are hilarious. His character is not making obvious jokes, but many things he says are funny just because of how awkward it is to talk to a couple who have been married more than 30 years about their sex life and fantasies. The trio's facial expressions alone are entertaining.

After watching Hope Springs, I turned to my friend and we both said: "That was so cute" – and it really was.


 

Comments

  1. Though it tried too hard to go for the rom-com conventions, it’s still succeeds as a study of where relationships can go, and how dull they can sometimes get. Streep and Jones are perfectly cast and keep this film moving like it deserves to. Good review Angie.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Dan. I think couples who have been together a long time might learn something from this film.

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