Follow us
Mobile
Pin It

Hope Springs, but then falls 

Rating: **

HOPE SPRINGS
** (out of 4)
DIRECTED BY David Frankel
STARS Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones

OLD COLLEGE TRY: Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) attempt intimacy in Hope Springs. (Photo: Columbia)
  • OLD COLLEGE TRY: Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) attempt intimacy in Hope Springs. (Photo: Columbia)

It should have been this summer's Julie & Julia or The Devil Wears Prada: a delightful Meryl Streep vehicle inclusive enough to sport a PG-13 rating but specifically geared toward mature moviegoers seeking a respite from blockbusters aimed at younger audiences. Hope Springs even reunites the actress with her Prada director, David Frankel. Yet despite the star teaming of Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, the picture is a letdown, saved from complete irrelevance by, you guessed it, the superlative turns by the two leads.

The premise is more than merely promising, centering on a long-married couple who attempt to salvage their stale relationship by spending a week at an out-of-town counseling retreat. Kay (Streep) is the unhappy one, tired of leading a passion-free life and eager to give the program a chance. Arnold (Jones) is the complacent one, satisfied with his utterly predictable (and utterly dull) existence and prone to complaining nonstop once his wife manages to get him to the seminar. It's a provocative setup, and with the added attraction of Steve Carell as the counselor, it sounds like it can't miss.

Unfortunately, scripter Vanessa Taylor does remarkably little with this choice idea. She neuters Carell with a part that requires no depth or variation — it's the first time I've ever seen this talented comedian rendered dull — and she initially makes Arnold such an unpleasant man that his inevitable about-face feels more than a little forced. That we stick with the character at all is a testament to Jones' acting abilities; Streep's sympathetic spouse means she has an easier time of it, but she still goes beyond the call of script duty to insure that we suffer right alongside this woman. But the two thespians can only do so much with the frequently clinical dialogue, and the scenes in which the couple try to be intimate (as per the counselor's instructions) are undermined by cheap shots at the notion of old folks getting it on. At least the Viagra cracks are kept to a bare minimum.

  • Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Creative Loafing encourages a healthy discussion on its website from all sides of the conversation, but we reserve the right to delete any comments that detract from that. Violence, racism and personal attacks that go beyond the pale will not be tolerated.

Related Films

Hope Springs
Rated PG-13 · 121 min. · 2012
Official Site: www.hopesprings-movie.com
Director: David Frankel
Writer: Vanessa Taylor
Producer: Todd Black and Guymon Casady
Cast: Steve Carell, Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Fernando Lara

Trailer


Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Hope Springs

Latest in Reviews

Readers also liked…

More by Matt Brunson

Search Events

Recent Comments

© 2016 Womack Newspapers, Inc.
Powered by Foundation