Monday, December 9, 2013

Hope Springs

Hope Springs (2012)
Comedy, Drama, Romance, 100 minutes
Directed by David Frankel
Starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell and Jean Smart

I could watch Meryl Streep in almost anything, and Hope Springs is something I will return to at least once a year. It's a mix of drama and comedy, but it doesn't try to make you laugh with every line of dialogue.

Kay (Streep) has been married to Arnold (Jones) for 31 years. The two barely talk to each other, despite living in the same house. He hasn't touched her physically or mentally in any kind of meaningful way for several years. Kay decides that she wants to recapture the magic and give new life to their boring existence. She cashes in her savings and arranges for the two to attend couples therapy with Doctor Feld (Carell).

After initially refusing, Arnold reluctantly agrees to Kay's ultimatum and the two fly off to attend the sessions for a few days. Arnold is grumpy, deeply suspicious of Feld, and afraid to show his real feelings. Carell plays things straight for once and is convincing as the therapist.

I think the movie has limited appeal because of the nature of the humor. It's the kind that will make you squirm and maybe recognize things about some of your own past or present relationships. Even if you don't, you probably know someone in a similar situation to Kay and Arnold.

The story is quite uplifting in its resolution and it is a pleasure to watch two such accomplished actors at the top of their game. The writing is strong and the performances are real.

If you are looking for a romantic comedy with a bit more depth than most, Hope Springs might just work for you. It certainly did for me. 

Overall score 4/5

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