Saturday 11 August 2012

Movie Review: Hope Springs

Feel your marriage has lost its spark? Go see this movie. Thinking about getting a divorce? Go see this movie. Already been through the wringer and are now battered, bruised and scarred for the rest of your life? Go see this movie. And even if you are still living in seventh heaven with the man or woman of your dreams in a state of never-ending ecstatic bliss, go see this movie. Okay, every other reviewer is going to critique the cinematography, the acting, and how the director handled the screenplay; blah, blah, blah. But there's a bit more to this cinematic experience than the basic movie review as this story is a real and pertinent slice of life, of all our lives.

Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) have been married for 31 years. They sleep in separate bedrooms and we discover have not had sex for five years. Theirs is a life of monotonous routine, no spark, and no fun, more of an existence than life. Kay decides she wants more; she wants to do something to regain what's been lost and convinces her husband to participate in a week of couple's therapy with a renowned specialist Dr. Bernie Feld (Steve Carell). From there we watch two people try to climb out of their rut to something more open, honest, spontaneous and very much loving. One scene in a restaurant has our protagonists talking briefly with another couple also seeing the specialist who confess to coming back every year for a "tune-up". Is this a warning to all of us?

Kay and Arnold tell the specialist how they ended up in separate bedrooms. Arnold had a back problem and started sleeping apart from Kay. When he got better he didn't go back claiming that his snoring due to sleep apnea would have bothered Kay. True or more of an excuse? I know that if you hug and kiss you end up liking to hug and kiss so you do hug and kiss. On the other hand, if you stop hugging and kissing you can and you will drift apart. Physical intimacy and the power of touch are primordial to not just cementing the elements of a relationship together, but of keeping them glued together.

But let me get back to the film itself. It's a good story with superb acting. Well done all around and well received by the critics. Imagine watching a film that only had a budget of $30 million. Considering the two hundred plus price tags of summer blockbusters, this film is a steal.

Final Word
I enjoyed the film and I know that anybody who has given or is currently giving thought to relationship issues will find the movie thought provoking. Should everybody consider a regular tune-up?

This isn't a summer blockbuster action adventure. The story, while applicable to any relationship, may be of more interest to somebody a tad older who has experienced marriage. A good film is a good film and this is one. But if you've got a few of the life experiences shown in the film, the film will hit home and make you reflect on your own situation whether currently married or currently divorced. Ah, where's Dr. Bernie Feld when you need him?


Rotten Tomatoes: Hope Springs: 77%
Led by a pair of mesmerizing performances from Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, Hope Springs offers filmgoers some grown-up laughs -- and a thoughtful look at mature relationships.

Wikipedia: Hope Springs (2012 film)
Hope Springs is a 2012 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by David Frankel, and starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell.

official web site: Hope Springs
This official web site also offers "The Relationship Guide", an amusing and practical look at keeping things going between a couple.


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1 comment:

Dan O. said...

It may not feature anything new or special that we haven’t already seen in rom-coms but what’s different here is that it focuses on the main couple, and nothing else. That gives us a great view of what it’s like to be an old couple, in a dull relationship. Great review William.