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Hope Springs

Hope Springs: Lifeless Drama About Love & Sex After Sixty

  • Meryl StreepSteve Carell...
  • ComedyDrama...
  • David Frankel
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Hope Springs: Lifeless Drama About Love & Sex After Sixty
On the outside, Hope Springs looks promising; a light hearted comedy-drama about a sexless couple whose deteriorating marriage is in desperate need of salvation. Directed by David Frankel – whose previous success lies with The Devil Wears Prada – and led by a couple of actors whose track record of offering good entertainment speaks for itself,  Hope Springs’ set-up sounds like a definite crowd-pleaser.

Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Despite an impressive cast and what its trailer might have led you to believe, Hope Springs is neither funny nor pleasing.

Thirty years of marriage to a grouchy accountant is not an appealing prospect for anyone, and no one knows this better than the quietly spoken suburban housewife Kay (Streep). She has spent the last three decades of her life awkwardly tiptoeing around her husband who ignores her presence on a daily basis. The robot-like Arnold (Jones) doesn’t seem worried; their dull day-to-day routine suits him just fine, but Kay is obviously longing for more. The emotional detachment has put a big strain on their relationship and as she is the only who seems to take any notice.

Taking initiative from a book called ‘You Can Have the Marriage You Want’, written by famous  marriage therapist Bernie Field (Carell), she signs them up for a week of couple’s therapy in a counselling retreat in Maine.     

Hope Springs is definitely not for everyone. Granted, it is refreshing to see a film embracing the subject of the intimate lives of couples over sixty, but the script lacks the taste, sincerity and the on-screen presence it needs to survive in the over-saturated rom-com market and as the story develops further, it turns itself into a clumsy mess.  

Despite the limiting script, both Streep and Jones should be commended for their roles.  Streep infuses the same grace into her part as she always does, while Jones, becomes a little more likable once he cuts loose.  The twosome – who are on-screen together for the first time – compliment each other well. In the role of renowned therapist-come-self-help-author, however, Carell struggles; he comes off as dull and completely wrong for the part. 

Generic and sluggish, Hope Springs is cheesy and an extremely discomforting affair.  

Like This? Try

It's Complicated (2009), Something's Gotta Give (2003), The Devil Wears Prada (2006) 

360 Tip

Initially, Jeff Bridges was offered the part to play opposite Meryl Streep but turned down the role. Good choice.

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