Never too old to re-fall in love
Hope Springs (2012)
Duration: 100 minutes
Directed by: David Frankel
Starring: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carrell, Elizabeth Shue, Jean Smart
By bringing together veteran actors Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep, Hope Springs more than lives up to its title.
This mix of comedy and drama about sex for the over-60s is provocative, entertaining and has all the ingredients for a good time at the cinema.
Kay and Arnold (Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones) are at an unusual time in their life. They have been married for 31 years and their children have left the nest.
They are still on good terms with each other but all romance has gone.
The relationship is civil but dry as they even sleep in separate rooms. Kay wants to change all this and thus enrols in a week-long couples programme at the Centre for Intensive Couples Counselling.
The centre which is at Great Hope Springs, Maine, is run by Dr Bernard Feld (Steve Carell). Arnold is very reluctant about taking part but Kay has booked everything.
Dr Feld’s investigations soon lead to the couple’s sex life which is non-existent. Arnold is very closed about this part of their life.
So the doctor starts giving the couple exercises which start to trigger changes between the couple as they try to save their marriage and kindle the romance that had once been present.
Streep and Jones are given a very strong script by Vanessa Taylor which had long been present on Hollywood’s Black List of great scripts that were unproduced. The script is quite spicy and it never lets its sympathies for the characters veer off and unbalance the film.
The film is coolly directed by David Frankel who has already directed Streep in the popular The Devil Wears Prada (2006). The actress has some really outrageously hilarious scenes and she pluckily holds her own.
With a simple look or gaze, she delivers more laughs than others attempt to garner with a dozen pratfalls.
For all the humour that the couple brings, the film is, however, laced with some really strong emotions. This makes the characters and the rapport they share on screen seem even more sincere.
The film also dissects quite well how a relationship may flounder, how little daily problems may add up and how, at times, lack of communication may block and limit a couple’s sex life.
Hope Springs manages to elicit this kind of thought-provoking bouncing of ideas with a lighter and more enjoyable touch than any drama could do.