Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones star as Kay and Arnold - a married
couple that appears to have fallen into the routine and the mundane.
Kay isn't happy about it, and wishes to rekindle the spark that brought
the two together, so she enrolls in a week long, intense marriage
therapy program led by noted author and counselor Dr. Feld (Steve
The irascible and private Arnold is none too happy about the whole
ordeal, but he loves his wife, and decides he better go along.
Can Kay and Arnold's marriage be saved?
What will they discover?
Did Steve Carell get his full salary even though he's not in this movie
all that much?
Hope Springs is a nice, quaint, funny,
middle-of-the-road and sometimes touching movie delivering simple
entertainment when you are not completely blown away by Jones's
performance. It's as comfortable as your favorite pair of slippers, and
about as sexy and exciting.
Streep finds some moments to shine, but this was a role for her to take
and have some fun with people she respects and wants to work with. It
isn't a part on the level with some of her greatest work, but it's
nothing to be ashamed of either. Streep keeps Kay from becoming silly
and shrill, but the master performance in Hope Springs comes
Wow. Just WOW is the best way to react to what Jones is doing on
screen. While Arnold starts off as a one note, grumpy old man with the
kind of retorts and one-liners you would expect, it turns out Jones is
just lulling the audience in, so he can amaze us later.
I was shocked and thrilled to see all of the shades of emotion Jones
displays for Arnold. We see his passion, anger, confusion, fear and
sadness all at varying times in Hope Springs, and all perfectly
delivered at the precise moments. It's not a demonstrative or flashy
role, but, if you know a young actor, buy that man or woman a ticket to
see Hope Springs, since it will serve as an acting class for
the thespian who pays attention to Jones.
Writer Vanessa Taylor plays it safe, and benefits from such a great
cast. Likewise for director David Frankel, who doesn't show any amazing
flair or style. Each one doesn't rock the boat, doesn't do anything
spectacular or groundbreaking, and doesn't blaze a new trail, but
sticks to the basics to let us enjoy the obvious. It's a predictable
movie, but one that pays off.
Hope Springs is rated PG-13 for mature thematic
content involving sexuality.