David Frankel has brought us character driven movies like The Devil Wears Prada, and Marley and Me. He brings to Hope Springs what has made those movie resonate with past audiences. They’re realistic people who we can all see someone reflected in them. Whether it’s Tommy Lee Jones as the reluctant Arnold to revive his marriage, or Meryl Streep as Kay who is longing for affection from her husband. Just because this is about an older couple don’t let it deter you from seeing it.
Kay and Arnold have been married for thirty years, and Kay is longing for affection. Her husband and her have no shared a bed in a long time, and they barely communicate throughout the day outside of small talk. Kay signs them up for a week long counseling session with Dr. Feld. This isn’t going over very well with Arnold who doesn’t like the fact he is attending these sessions, and when Dr. Feld begins asking them about some very personal things it may be enough to send them all in different paths.
Hope Springs is a rather simple story. There is nothing over the top about it, but it’s the performances that bring it to life. Mainly because most of us can either see our relationships, or our parents relationships resonated in Arnold and Kay. You have great acting also that brings out these things we notice in the characters too. These very well-known actors do a good job of making us forget who they are, and putting us in the film with them.
Tommy Lee Jones is Arnold, and while he does the character very well he also seems to be like every other Jones character he plays. Men In Black 3 just came out this year, and he doesn’t seem too far apart from Agent K he portrayed in that movie. Arnold will remind most of us of our dads though if you’re younger. If you’re older he might remind you of your own husband. He has a lot of pride, and somehow it’s built up over the past years, and instead of risking to lose his pride by sharing with his wife he has wants he has instead found a comfortable setting to keep himself at. Kay on the other hand is not comfortable with the lack of interaction she has with Arnold. Meryl Streep shines as Kay. She does the role of a woman who is wanting something new, but a little afraid of the prospects well. She loves her husband enough to try new things though. There is also Steve Carell who is Dr. Feld, and while he plays the counselor great, he also seems like every other Carell character he has played in the past. He’s funny just because their is a natural comedic light about him, but it’s what you expect from him.
The movie builds up well though. We already know the married couple is in trouble, so it’s not your romantic movie in the sense two people meet, fall in love, and then have a huge problem where they must find a way to reunite. Instead, these two people have already fallen at a distance with each other, and want to revive it. The things they need to do to revive it aren’t going to be easy considering 30 years has made them comfortable in their ways. The way tension is still built through this is well done.
Hope Springs is worth checking no matter what your age, or whether you’re male of female. For couples this can be a great watch. While it does fall into some romantic comedy formula it does provide some great lessons, and insights to things you might witness in a marriage that isn’t young anymore. It’s sweet, and leaves you at least hopeful as the title implies.
Rating 4 of 5.