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Hope Springs [Blu-ray]
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Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) are a devoted couple, but decades of marriage have left Kay wanting to spice things up and reconnect with her husband. When she hears of a renowned couple’s specialist (Steve Carell) in the small town of Great Hope Springs, she attempts to persuade her skeptical husband, a steadfast man of routine, to get on a plane for a week of marriage therapy. Just convincing the stubborn Arnold to go on the retreat is hard enough--the real challenge for both of them comes as they shed their bedroom hang-ups and try to re-ignite the spark that caused them to fall for each other in the first place.
The traditional romantic comedy tends to take place at the start, or certainly near the beginning, of a relationship. But Hope Springs turns things on its head, and spends its time in the company of a couple who are married, but separate to all intents and purposes. Played by Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep, it's the latter's character who insists they go away for a week of marriage therapy. Steve Carell, in a non-comedic role, plays their therapist, and the film is effectively a platform for the two leads to demonstrate their skills. They do not let the side down.
While there are moments in Hope Springs that feel just a little slight, it's the excellent pair of leading performances that consistently makes the film as strong as it is. Streep and Jones put across three dimensional characters in a relatable way, mixing in good laughs and serious drama. It also touches on subjects not too often dealt with in the genre in a really accessible way.
There are a few interesting extra features to bolster out the disc, although they're not going to divert you for too long. The film might just do that, though. It's certainly the kind of movie that rewards more than one viewing, if for nothing else than to salute the acting masterclass on offer. --Jon Foster
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Top Customer Reviews
I purchased this movie because it was cheap but had actors I admire in it - assuming rather cynically that it would be OK but nothing more.
Firstly, this is the most intelligent script I've watched in ages - totally unpredictable, totally real, sparse, taught and non-wordy - Vanessa Taylor, we need more from you.
Secondly, the performances are probably the best that Streep and Lee Jones have ever given - the greatest test of an actor's skill is to ask them to play 'ordinary people', and both of them make these characters so real it hurts. In particular, playing 'awkward' can feel stagey with even the best of actors - Streep and Lee Jones on the other hand make you totally identify with their situation.
If you don't like the idea of anyone over 40 having sex, you won't like this film (and I suspect many of the press reviewers fall into this category)
On the other hand, if you've lived life and found sex and love to be wonderful, if complicated, and - duh! - have actually worked out that one day you'll be older and have less skin elasticity too, then you'll love this movie.
Cook yourself a nice dinner, open a decent bottle of wine and just sit back and enjoy this movie which I personally found to be a real gem.
And shame on the Oscar people for not nominating it.
Kay, purchases a week of Intensive Counseling for Arnold and herself in Maine. She uses funds she has saved, she Really wants to save her marriage. Arnold very reluctantly accompanies her, but he is adamant he won't share. Steve Carell plays the therapist, a very even tempered therapist who does not put up with any bull#%^*. He moves the two of them along, and it is a sight to behold. Sometimes funny, often emotional and always so well done. Streep plays the part to a 'T', but it is Tommy Lee Jones who surprises us. He plays a much deeper, quiet side, but is the star of this show. I can see so many people after thirty one years of marriage who would benefit from this film, maybe married five years , need the lessons learned.
Recommended. prisrob 04-10-13
Once there they must struggle with their inhibitions and years of reserve in order to reignite the love they once shared.
As usual Hollywood doesn't know what to do with something well written & serious so this is sold as some sort of romantic comedy. It's not.
There are funny moments but they are subtle and tinged with remorse and pain.
That this works at all is largely thanks to a chemistry between Streep & Jones that works beautifully. They portray two people who have grown 'comfortable' with each other & have allowed the spark to go out of the marriage. They are the epitome of 'going through the motions'.
Kay is willing to try & open up but Arnold see's no reason for change and dismisses the whole week as a waste of time & money.
As a tight fisted grouch Tommy-Lee Jones is pitch perfect. No over acting, a subtle scowl or barely heard remark are often enough to show his displeasure while Meryl Streeps Kay is desperate to see improvement and Streep portrays her pain & frustration with a fragility that is very moving. Beneath the submissive surface though lies a determination that slowly highlights that if she & Arnold fail here she may well be prepared to reconsider her future.
As the therapist Steve Carell plays it totally straight. Absolutely no humour and a quietly spoken catalyst for change.
This avoids just about every feel good movie trope there is, no gags or lazy jokes, virtually no one else but the three main characters, no rushing around to take in every bit of scenery.Read more ›
Tommy Lee Jones is excellent as the husband, and Meryl Streep superb as the initially rather timid and dutiful wife - but she feels that there should be more going on in her marriage - err like some fun and excitement. She actually wants a relationship!
The film 'East is East' comes to mind since that touches on marital problems - the husband-wife in that film would have done well to go and see the couples therapist in 'Hope Springs'.
Touching, funny, the film goes into all the untalked about intimate areas of the couple relationship.
Whilst the problems which this couple have do not involve domestic violence, alcohol or drug abuse etc their problems are sufficiently deep and engaging for the majority of the general population to feel drawn into their world and get really hooked.
I would recommend it for any couple to go and see at the cinema. I will buy the DVD when it comes out since I wish to see it again - there are also bits I sort of missed first time round eg some little humorous touches from the knowing waitress in the local cafe in Hope Springs.
Nice to see couples therapy in action. The therapist has the training and skill to get right in there. Fascinationg to watch. Masterful. Well done to all concerned for making this excellent film. It is heartwarming and educational.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you spotted Steve Carell on the cast list and thought: Hey this could be a fun comedy to watch - be warned - this is not a comedy. It's definitely more of a drama. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ms T
Comedy - not remotely. One of the worst, most boring and pointless films I've seen. Gave up after half an hour.Published 2 months ago by cynical sam
Love this film! Both leads are brilliant as the middle-aged couple stuck firmly in a rut and their characters take you through a whole range of emotions as one of them decides to... Read morePublished 2 months ago by S Y
The film is very romantic and Meryl Streep as always marvellous both in grief and in joy, thank you !