Hope Springs is about a middle-aged couple, played by Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, who are struggling with the intimacy, or lack thereof, in their marriage. Streep’s character, Kay, takes the initiative to sign them up for intensive couple’s counseling with renowned therapist, Dr. Feld, played by Steve Carell. And after thirty years of marriage, they have a lot to work out.
The thing I like most about this film is that it centers around normal, everyday people with normal, everyday struggles. Their marriage isn’t suffering because of a huge tragedy, it is simply suffering because yes, marriage is hard. This is a very mature stance to take, one that few films have dared to suggest. When a film does something different, it is usually commendable. I applaud Hope Springs for taking overused plots and characters, and breathing a new, more adult life into them.
That being said, it’s not the perfect film. The pacing is very slow and not a lot happens. The movie is comprised mostly of sessions with the therapist, followed by Kay and Arnold (Jones) attempting their assignments given by Dr. Feld, with either success or disaster ensuing. It’s all very predictable, and the screen time could have been used more effectively.
The film’s real strengths lie in the performances of Streep and Jones who are vulnerable in a way that’s unusual for both of them. If nothing else, they are the reason to see this movie, especially if you’re a fan of either. They carry the entire movie with immense chemistry, and director David Frankel wholeheartedly lets them run with it.
Despite its downfalls, Hope Springs is good for the soul. There are so many slice-of-life moments that are a joy to watch, moments that could only be shared by a couple who have been together for years. It’s about the mundane, everyday things we all go through, but it’s also about the beauty of those things. It’s a feel-good movie about how important it is to fight for the ones we love. And as cliche as that sounds, Hope Springs does it in its own quiet, humble, and relatable way.
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