'Hope Springs' Movie Review
trophywife - wrote on 08/31/12
You know how, when you are young and in love, you believe that marriage will be just one big continuous moment of romance, laughter, -- and sex? Well, please allow Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep to slap you upside the head with some reality …. and possibly cause you to swear off marital bliss indefinitely.
THE GOOD: From the director of ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ comes the movie ‘Hope Springs’, a dramatic comedy that gives us a somewhat depressing yet oftentimes hilarious insight into the 31 year marriage of Kay (Streep) and Arnold (Jones), a couple who eat the same breakfast every day before work, and watch the same tv show everynight – before they retire to their separate beds …. in separate rooms. Kay has had enough, and signs them up for intensive couples therapy with Dr. Bernard Feld (played by Steve Carell), much to Arnold’s displeasure. Of course, Arnold is displeased about almost EVERYTHING, which only reinforces the need for therapy – and it makes for some very funny, as well as uncomfortable, moments. Arnold is quite frankly that miserable old man we all know that drives us crazy with his constant irritability, yet there is something we find humorous about it …. as long as WE aren’t the ones who have to live with him.
This $4000 therapy session takes the couple to Maine for a week of emotional fine tuning and occasional awkward silence, as Kay and Arnold are forced to admit they aren’t quite sure when they last shared a conjugal visit – and even more awkwardness as Dr. Feld attempts to discuss the details. It’s sometimes heartbreaking, and quite frequently laugh-out-loud funny, with most of the humorous lines coming, surprisingly, NOT from Carell who plays it mostly straight and calm, but from Jones, who takes his trademark gruffness to a whole new level.
THE BAD: If there’s anything I would consider placing in the ‘bad’ category, it’s the concern I have that young unmarried couples might see this and take it TOO seriously. “Is this what we have to look forward to?!” they will turn to each other and ask in horror. Well, maybe. I don’t doubt that there really are people like this out there who somehow forgot how to ‘be in love’ – but I do find it a little hard to comprehend, blessed as I am to be married 20+ years to a man who still curls my toes. Maybe I’m just lucky – but I also have learned, as most old married couples have, that a happy marriage really is WORK. And if you aren’t willing to DO the work, then Kay and Arnold’s situation could be a very real outcome.
THE UGLY: I don’t want to create too much of a graphic mental image for you, but suffice it to say that if you feel you might be disturbed and/or traumatized by watching two senior citizens getting it on, this isn’t the movie for you. Consider yourselves warned.
‘Hope Springs’ won’t appeal to everyone – the younger crowd will most likely find it difficult to appreciate -- and probably somewhat icky – which is just as well given a few very “mature” moments of discussion and –uhh – experimentation. But for anyone who can appreciate that marriage sometimes has its moments of monotony and imperfection, this film is perfectly charming and fun.
The Trophy Wife gives this movie 4 trophies.
‘Hope Springs’ has a running time of 100 minutes and is rated PG-13 for mature thematic content and sexuality.