If you were asked to describe actors Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, what words would you use? Some that come to mind are: experienced, mature, Oscar winners, professionals, etc. I don’t think the word sexy would ever come to mind, for me as a thirty something female. Nor would I describe either of them as funny or “having game.” However, after watching Hope Springs, from Director David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada), I can honestly say Jones and Streep are bringing sexy back.
This film was so funny, you could hear people in the audience snorting they were laughing so hard. I laughed so much that I had tears running down my face. While funny man Steve Carell, stars in Hope Springs as a couples therapist, he wasn’t the one responsible for the laughter. Instead, its the wonderfully written script (Vanessa Taylor) that tackles topics rarely addressed as frankly as in this film. As some would say, this movie “gets real” with its frank discussions of sex, almost as real as a Dr. Ruth chat about sex.
Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) have been married for 31 years. Like most couples that have been married with children for decades, they’ve fallen into routines and let the romance fade as time passed. Kay’s decided she’s tired of the status quo and wants to shake things up and work on rekindling the fire with Arnold. Looking for help on the shelves of a chain bookstore she discovers a renowned couple’s specialist (Steve Carell) in the small town of Great Hope Springs, Maine, and books an intensive counseling session.
Arnold is too caught up in his routine and stubborn to recognize his wife is unhappy. Kay is determined to work on her marriage and has to persuade him, she’s seeking change with or without him. Some of the best scenes take place in the therapist’s office as the couple explores the problems in their marriage and the bedroom. Streep’s facial expressions and body language along with Jones’ “go to hell” looks directed at Dr. Feld are precise.
Overall Impression: This script is original, compelling and heartfelt. Finally, a movie that addresses a real issue without judgment or harsh stereotypes. The subject matter is relevant and Although, even an amazing script can bomb without the right actors to bring it to life but Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones deliver all star performances in this refreshingly original flick. If anyone thought that Steve Carell is merely a comedian and had become typecast, you’ll have second thoughts after his performance as a marriage counselor.
While there were a few points when I felt slightly uncomfortable, imagine watching your parents talk about their sex lives and fantasies, I was mostly entertained and amused. But mostly I was impressed by the chemistry between Jones and Streep and their combined talent. Both Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones should receive Oscar nominations for their performances in this film. I loved the movie and feel this is a must see for married couples regardless of whether you’ve been married a few years or a few decades.
Hope Springs is rated PG-13 and opens in theaters everywhere on August 8, 2012.
A special thanks to Columbia and Sony Pictures for inviting me to an advanced screening. All opinions are 100% my own and I did not receive additional compensation for my review.