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Hope Springs

October 26, 2012

Hope Springs (2012)
Director: David Frankel
Actors: Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, Steve Carell

Hope Springs

Synopsis: Late middle-aged couple, Kay and Arnold (Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones), embark on a marriage counselling programme – much to the chagrin of Arnold – as a means of sparking some life in their staid and stagnant relationship.

Review: What you see is what you get with this one. It’s a David Frankel film (he of Devil Wears Prada and Sex of the City fame), starring some of the most familiar Hollywood pros – Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell – in that most crowdpleasing of genres, the marriage dramedy. If you bring that understanding and expectation to the film, then you can’t be too surprised at the sanitised end-result. Jones has fun figuratively (and sometimes, literally) sleepwalking his part of the grumpy, ‘creature of habit’ husband, and Streep coasts playing the dutiful housewife with a whimsical longing for something more. It’s quite nicely played out in those limited confines – there’s a nice theatricality to the opening domestic scenes where Jones sleeps in a separate room from his wife, and barely looks her in the eye as he goes through his monotonic morning routine. Beyond that, the film’s thesis is a little lame. Is having Meryl Steep practicing her fellatio technique on a banana really all the material they could come up with, and I sensed that Jones’ late ‘epiphany’ is really with a view to rushing through the prescribed happy ending, than a logical conclusion to his seemingly unalterable stoicism which cloaks the majority of the film. (October 2012)

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