Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones take us on an exploration of the death of intimacy in long-standing marriages in Hope Springs, a tale of a couple who embark on intense relationship counseling after thirty-years of married life.
I’m a granny at heart. I love grey brigade movies and I always jump at the chance to join the oldies in a quiet Sunday afternoon at the cinema. The trailer for Hope Springs looked like a hoot so I was more than willing to put my hand up for the screening for this flick.
But don’t be fooled: this ain’t the light-hearted comedy it’s made out to be. Director David Frankel (Devil Wears Prada) has not shied away from presenting a truthful account of what an intimacy-less marriage may be like. This doesn’t exactly make for an exciting or hilarious trip to the movies…
Hope Springs is well written and generally well made. It is set in the picturesque state of Maine, USA which makes for an aesthetically beautiful setting. The soundtrack is fairly adventurous for this genre of film (seniors flick!) with some surprisingly modern choices that (aside from one awful track) helps add a slightly unique feel to a film of this generally convention-driven genre.
The acting is superb with Tommy Lee Jones showing just how outstanding subtle characterisation can be – though he really reminded me of the grumpy old guy from Pixar’s Up. Honestly: it was like a live-action rendition of Carl Fredricksen!
Meryl Streep is, as always, totally and utterly convincing in her role as the lonely and frustrated house wife. Yet the character itself is so insipid, weak and pitiful I just wanted to slap her. Clearly Ms Streep did a brilliant job at making her believable so this is not the fault of good old Meryl! I just couldn’t stand her character moping about seemingly powerless to help her situation. Grrr!
The casting of Steve Carell was a complete waste of talent and budget. Sure he’s capable in the role of the marriage counselor, but it is such a ‘nothing’ part, any actor could have played him. Why enlist a big name for a role that demands almost no acting?!
The strongest point of this film is also it’s worst. Hope Springs presents an incredibly realistic case study of a long standing marriage that has lost all levels of intimacy. I don’t doubt that it is an accurate reflection of the relationship of many middle-aged couples, yet isn’t the seniors market the main target audience for this film?! Who wants to view a depressing investigation into their physically failing marriage on a night out? It makes for a slightly awkward 90minutes as the couple on screen play out your everyday life and point out it’s short-falls. I can only imagine that for some older couples, it may not be a comfortable experience.
As a younger person, I felt equally squeamish watching this flick as the middle aged couple discuss, in detail, their physical relationship and then we watch as they awkwardly try to reengage. It feels like walking in on your grandparents to find them in an uncompromising position in the bedroom. Eurgh!
Having said this, I am impressed with the honesty in which the subject matter is approached and no doubt the film speaks many truths that perhaps needed airing…
I rate Hope Springs 6 stars