“Hope Springs”- Movie Review by Ben Lane

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“Hope Springs” is directed by David Frankel, who has also directed movies like “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Marley and Me,” and stars Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carrell. The plot centers around this: Kay (Streep) is married to Arnold (Jones) and their love life and sex life are completely gone. They sleep in separate rooms, and only touch each other when he gives her a light kiss on the cheek before going to work. He wakes up, eats, reads the paper, kisses her, then leaves, come home, and falls asleep, just to repeat the same routine over again. Kay desperately wants things to liven up in every aspect of their relationship, but Arnold feels it is “fine” the way it is. So, out of desperation, Kay signs herself and Arnold up for marriage counseling sessions in Hope Springs. Once arrived, the therapist (Carrell) talks with them and tells them they must perform acts that may be uncomfortable, but completely necessary if they want their marriage to survive.

I will start this review by saying this: the plot for this film, for my age demographic, is not very popular or likable. I, however, enjoy watching any kind of movie, and when I heard of the casting selections, I became very interested in seeing this film. I finally saw it, and I can say that “Hope Springs” is actually a very good movie; one that makes you laugh, cry, and wince at intentional awkwardness, all while touching your heart.

The casting selection for this film was very good. Steve Carrell (The 40 Year Old Virgin) takes a very interesting turn in this film, avoiding his typical strictly humorous style and maintaining a mature, serious mood that is fitting to his instructive character. Regarding Meryl Streep, I heard a critic say that it seems like a cliche to say that she gave a good performance, and I agree with that because, honestly, when hasn’t she given one? I mean, she’s been nominated for more than twenty Oscars in her career. However, I have to say, she was very good in this film; I wouldn’t go as far to say that she was Oscar worthy here, but she was definitely very good, and she portrayed her hurting character with such loneliness and desperation that touches you deep. My favorite performance in the film, however, is that of Tommy Lee Jones. His chemistry with Streep’s character and they way they interact with each other was so much fun to watch and they are both at the top of their game in this film. Jones should certainly be considered for Best Supporting Actor come Oscar season.

The writing in this film is also very good, with plenty of laughable dialogue, awkward situations, and sweet romantic moments that all blend together with David Frankal’s calm direction and the great performances.

Overall, I really enjoyed “Hope Springs” more than I thought I would, and this film features characters you grow to care for, a script that supplies them with good dialogue, sweet romance, and a satisfying love story. This is definately one of the best films of 2012.

Grade: A

Run Time: 100 mins

Rated: PG-13 for mature thematic content including sexuality

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