“Hope Springs” Review
Hope Springs (IMDB) is a new movie from director David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me) starring Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black, No Country for Old Men), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady, Doubt) and Steve Carell (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine). It follows a married couple, straight off their 31st anniversary, who through the years have stayed together but have seemingly grown apart from one another. The wife, Kay (Streep), is dissatisfied with the current state of their relationship and wishes for a change to take them back to how they were. On the other hand, her husband Arnold (Jones) does not seem to find a real problem with their marriage and has grown fairly complacent.
The actual plot of this movie is not the greatest thing in the world. It is pretty much just a different take on the classic romantic comedy formula, the main difference being that the love interests of the movie are already married with children. With Hope Springs, originality and cleverness in the script is scarce.
There is one thing that redeems this movie, however, and that’s the acting. Whoever did the casting for this movie, congratulations- you deserve a promotion! Not only is the acting the sole source of entertainment you will get from this movie, but it saves the film from being a lackluster production altogether. Seeing the chemistry, and lack thereof, between Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep is a treat to watch. It is amazing that, as an actress, Meryl Streep seems to never play the same character twice. Even if it is the same type of role she is cast in, the character she presents will be almost completely different from the last. This makes viewing her movies that much more entertaining. Steve Carell also did a great job; unfortunately, he doesn’t have as much screen time as the other two. I have always loved seeing Carell play differently from the annoyingly stupid character type he is known so well for. It was also enjoyable to see how well Tommy Lee Jones can act outside of his “dry, grumpy old man” character. All around, there wasn’t a cast member on the bill that didn’t deliver. By the end of the movie you are really connected to Kay and Arnold as a couple and hope for the best with them.
When it comes down to it, Hope Springs is just an average run of the mill romantic comedy, a little heavier on the drama, with a superb cast. It is a movie targeted more towards an older demographic, and I think it has successfully reached that target. If your parents are looking for a nice movie to watch over the weekend that isn’t full of a bunch of old men shooting things up until they explode, this is their best bet. Overall, Hope Springs is a movie that would have been sub par given different casting, but the acting between the two lead roles is so well performed that the film ranks slightly above average.
Starring-Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell
**1/2 out of 4