Opening in theatres now from director David Frankel and Columbia Pictures comes a story of life after family with HOPE SPRINGS.
This film tells the story of Kay (Meryl Streep), a wife of 31 years to husband Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones). There days have become routine and there nights, well, are just nights. Kay who is normally a mild manners woman finally decides she wants more from her marriage.
Stumbling upon a book written by Dr. Feld (Steve Carell), Kay decides that she wants to go to couples intensive therapy to rediscover her marriage. The problem is grumpy and complaining Arnold who tries to nix the idea, but Kay stands her ground.
For a week Dr. Feld brings out of Kay and Arnold things they would rather forget, things they need to remember and a last chance for this couple to find out if its time to go their separate ways. Kay battles for their marriage while Arnold battles for the cost of the trip!
To do that there is comedy, drama, tears and honesty.
FINAL WORD: Streep has once again put in a performance that is not only charming but also risky! I won’t give you any spoilers but I was surprised, but shouldn’t have been, at how far her character would go. There is a level of frustration with her character Kay in that she is a calm woman but that shouldn’t be mistaken as a woman who doesn’t want more in her life. Streep slowly brings that out of Kay and even goes as far bringing humor to the truth of her character.
Jones mastered the role of Arnold. He is grumpy, a complainer and finds no good in anything. Yet, once confronted by Kay manages to shed some of his fears. Two steps forward and five steps back is exactly the description of Jones’ character. In the middle of the chaos there is such life humor and Jones brings it out so well. Watching his character grow, fall and grow again was such a treat.
Carell is so amazing as Dr. Feld. There is something so calming about him (and the fact that this man does not seem to age one bit!) and when confronted by Arnold, Carell’s character smiles warningly and continues with the questions. I loved it! Although Streep and Jones did most of the work, Carell added just the right amount of mix to dig out the problems of this couple.
I actually had a woman tell me she can’t even imagine there being a person like Arnold and I had to tell her ‘oh yes Virginia, he does exist!’ That made this film, for me, so relatable. Yes it is possible for a woman to want to share a life with such a man because she sees something deep inside. There is also a time when she must decide when her life matters just as much as his and have the courage to do the right thing. I will give Kay credit for staying with it for over 30 years and even more credit for standing her ground!
Other cast include: Jean Smart as Eileen, Ben Rappaport as Brad, Marin Ireland as Molly, Patch Darragh as Mark, Brett Rice as Vince, Becky Ann Baker as Cora, Mimi Rogers as Carol, Charles Techman as Charlie, Damian Young as Mike and Elizabeth Shue as Karen the Bartender.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Hope Springs” four tubs of popcorn out of five. Truthfully much of this film is aimed at couples that have been together for a long time. There are issues along with hopes and dreams affiliated with a relationship that has managed to get through some of life’s hardships. This trio of actors has done such an amazing job taking a subject rarely in films and taking it head on. The last time Streep took on a woman discovering herself in such a way was in “Bridges of Madison County” or “Its Complicated”.
This is definitely a date night movie for couples of all ages. There are so many lessons on how to treat one another when love has gone through life changes as we all have. It truly is a charming film.
In the end – some things are worth counseling for!