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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 11 December 2003
When 'Hope Springs' came out at the cinema it was given pretty harsh reviews. Critics claimed the film was a dire rehash of other romantic comedies with leads that were obviously second choices for their parts. I'd like to dispute this.
The setup is as follows. Colin Firth plays a man trying to escape from his past and his feelings for his old girlfriend Minnie Driver. He comes to the small town of Hope in America and without even trying falls into a relationship with Heather Graham.
He discovers the people in the town are taking to this eccentric Englishman and becomes involved in their plans and schemes for the future. Even though he's running away from life he finds himself embracing the place and trying to make his relationship with the eccentric Miss Graham work.
The last thing he needs then is the return of his ex, who has her own motives in wanting to win him back.
What really makes this film work are the supurb performances. In the lead roles the three performers all excell. Colin Firth displays all the charm he brought to the screen in 'Love Actually' and 'What A Girl Wants', Heather Graham is as kooky and stunning as she was in 'The Spy Who Shagged Me' and 'Boogie Nights' and Minnie Driver shows the same excellent comic timing that she had in 'An Ideal Husband' and 'Good Will Hunting'.
Add to this the support of such scene stealers as Oliver Pratt and Mary Steenburgen and you have a romantic comedy that can't fail to charm fans of the genre.
It will bring a smile to your face and put hope in your heart.
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on 24 May 2004
This is a sweet comedy that is unlikely to make you laugh out loud but should make you smile.
The three sides of the love triangle Firth/Graham/Driver are well cast, with Driver being especially good as the ex (sort of) fiancee who just refuses to let go of the ever lovely Firth who, having fled to the States to try and get over the break up of his engagement, finds himself more interested in Graham's character than trying to patch up his old relationship. The support cast is also funny and quirky as the inhabitants of a small American town fascinated by newcomer Firth. You get the feeling that the cast had fun making it.
It's not perfect - it lags a bit in the middle, although the beginning and end are well paced. I also felt that although we were meant to feel the strongest bond with Graham's character it was not as fleshed out as it could have been or as strong, so she came out as a little dull compared to Driver. Others may disagree.
The extras include a run-of-the-mill 'making of' feature.
If you like gentle romantic comedy and have a fondness for Colin Firth then you will almost certainly like this.
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on 6 March 2004
There are films that are epic demonstrations of how conventional cinema can be pushed beyond the 'limits' of it's time, such as Star Wars in its day, Lord of the Rings over the last couple of years, and other such films. 'Hope Springs' does not pretend to be anything revolutionary or a means of advancing the art of cinema. It is very simply a romantic comedy formed around an age-old method of a love triangle. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Sometimes, you don't want a film to lecture you with moral lessons or teach you about history. You just want entertainment for the sake of entertainment, which is what you are given with this DVD. You can read the synopsis of the plot above, so I won't bore you by repeating that. All I can do is say that in my opinion, this is an extremely enjoyable film with subtle but very funny comedy, a touching and slightly complicated love story, and excellent performances from the three leads and the supporting cast to bring it all together. Have a look at this one. You won't regret it.
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on 13 March 2012
'Hope Springs' was panned upon release by British film critics. Though the film does have a tendency to resort to some lazy British stereotyping, and whilst it is another lighthearted rom-com starring Colin Firth in his usual bumblingly charming role, and Heather Graham in her typecast zany but gorgeous love interest role; the film has been hard done by. Likeable, fairly amusing and sometimes unpredictable, 'Hope Springs' tells the tale of Colin (Colin Firth) an English artist who crosses the atlantic to the small Northern US town of Hope, to escape a failed relationship with his long-term ex, the manipulative Vera (Minnie Driver). Colin soon falls for the sweet, eccentric Mandy (Graham), and his unexpected romance seems to be slipping into happily ever after, until Vera turns up on Colin's doorstep. Mark Herman's direction and script (adapted from Charles Webb's likeable novel 'New Cardiff') keep the film's pace ticking along nicely, and there are a number of good twists and turns in the film, as Colin finds himself torn between the affections and intentions of the two women.

All three leads put in good, if unspectacular performances; the bitchy, yet feeling Vera portrayed by Driver being the best of the bunch. The film is also visually excellent, its cinematography sweeping wonderfully amongst the leafy trees and helps add an extra depth to some of the quieter intimate moments between Colin; both alone and with Mandy or Vera. 'Hope Springs' is not a groundbreaking or astounding film, but nor is it supposed to be. It possesses enough charm, a good enough script, and a handful of clever plot twists which stop it from getting too formulaic and one-dimensional. If gentle, neatly-observed comedy, with a good helping of romance is your thing, then 'Hope Springs' should be on your 'to see' list.
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on 5 November 2004
Ok, ok, so I love Colin Firth. I'm over 18 and it's not a crime. He'll discover me one day, but meanwhile I just enjoy watching his movies.
This one may not make cinematic history, but it's a lovely romantic comedy with some great lines. I felt good after it had finished and not just because it was Colin. The location is appealing, as are the characters. Above all, though, it was a lovely story. It comes from a book written by the author of The Graduate, so it's got some pedigree.
Give it a try if you like gentle romantic comedies - I'm sure you won't regret it.
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I like Colin Firth, and so, was curious to see what this tale was about. Sadly I was very disappointed and almost switched it off a quarter of the way through, but persevered! There is somewhat of a story-line, but it doesn't tie together convincingly. The acting is left wanting. It is annoying and irritating, worse than a tv movie and feels very low budget.
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on 10 March 2006
I totally disagree with the person whos says this film is 'absolute rubbish'. When I first watched Hope Spings it was ok, but I watched it again and now I cant stop I love it! Its even better as Colin Firth is in it- but its a really great feel good film. Its not a huge blockbuster but its still great! The characters are well played to and Joni and Fisher are funny to watch too.
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on 8 April 2015
Definitely not what I call entertainment. In my opinion this film is a waste of Colin Firth's talent. However, the shots of the celebrated autumnal colours of the US East coast (New England) are quite a sight.
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on 23 June 2014
Thin, obvious plot, mostly poor dialogue and only a few laughs. Heather Graham is miscast and poor old Colin Firth looks very uncomfortable throughout the film, especially when he's with la Graham. Minnie Driver is unconvincing as the errant girlfriend.
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on 5 December 2004
"Hope Springs" is a new romantic drama from Touchstone Pictures, starring Colin Firth and Minnie Driver. I was first attracted to this video by the picture of Colin Firth on the box; then I liked the blurb, saying that it is a charming Hollywood-style and witty British style romantic comedy. But my best hopes quickly sprang to bewilderment and scepticism.
A British artist, Colin (Colin Firth), is dumped by his girlfriend, Vera (Minnie Driver) and takes refuge in a tiny New England town of Hope. There he meets a nurse, Mandy (Heather Graham) and they presumably fall in love. Then in the middle of their young relationship Vera comes to claim her former boyfriend. A series of encounters between the three principal characters follow and end quite suddenly with Colin opting for Mandy.
Colin seems to be the typical, if not exaggerated, product of Western civilisation: he almost dies after a five-hour flight to the States, is indecisive till the end, too nervous at some point (especially against a background of calm Vera). He only feels sure in his craft of drawing portraits. Mandy begins as a psychotic provincial chicken, drinking alcohol straight from the bottle, then driving a car, and then undressing before Colin without any invitation or encouragement on his side. She ends a quieter and more positive character though. Vera is a composed, determined self-made woman; still she smokes so much during her appearance in the film that you begin to understand Americans who ban smoking from any public place.
The film may be also called a lollipop advertising the ideal image of America: with not a single obese person, with hotel managers coming to spiritual rescue of their customers (complete strangers) by sending a woman to soothe the heart sores of a newcomer to town, such woman entering a stranger's room without permission and starting by massaging the temples of a jet-lag wreck. Taking into account the really beautiful backdrop of New England fall, the picture of small-town American paradise seems to be complete.
Minnie Driver's acting is better than of anyone else in the film. Colin Firth would hardly be remembered much by his role in "Hope Springs". His personal charm saves the picture sometimes, but is not enough to save the script. The musical score is often better than the film itself, though you won't find anything beyond the ordinary.
If you believe in badly-written fairy-tales, or if you are a fan of someone from the cast; or if you need another portrayal of fall leaves in the cinema - then "Hope Springs" is for you.
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