What’s better than old people learning to be intimate again? Golly, I don’t think anything is.
Arnold and Kay (Played by Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep) just passed the 31st year mark of their marriage. You could say there isn’t much of a spark in their relationship. They sleep in different bedrooms each night. They hardly talk to each other, let alone look at each other.
But poor old Kay makes some attempts at intimacy, which gets turned down by Arnold. She ponders the sake of her marriage if there is anything left of it. Arnold moves through his boring 9-5 life; reading golf magazines and watching golf shows until he falls asleep on the La -Z-Boy.
After rummaging through a Barnes and Noble for relationship books, she stumbles upon a book written by Dr. Feld (played by Steve Carell) and is intrigued. She buys the book and reads it from cover to cover. She wants to rebuild her relationship, so she sets up a week for marriage counseling.
Arnold isn’t convinced it will work, but he hops on at the last-minute to make her happy. They fly on up to Hope Springs, Maine to meet with Dr. Feld and see what he is all about.
As expected, Arnold isn’t taking a liking to anything about the trip. He complains about almost everything and he ridicules the doctor’s techniques. But he is a champ and he pulls through it because there is something inside him that recognizes his marriage is getting a little tricky.
Moving on through the sessions, Dr. Feld’s topics of discussion get more intimate, down to the nitty-gritty of their sex routine. Both Arnold and Kay get uncomfortable around this topic, because this is where they lack: their ability to “make love” and not just sex (which they haven’t even done in a few years).
As they move on, the Doctor gives them certain exercises to regain intimacy in their relationship, from holding each other to giving oral sex. It puts the couple through a test if they can break through their slump and find the missing flame in their lives.
Hope Springs really is a harmless movie that gently takes you through the emotions of their troubled relationship.
Their relationship felt real. There weren’t many twists and turns that left you saying, “oh I wasn’t expecting that”. It’s predictable, but a good kind of predictable. Streep and Jones played the tired couple well, giving a relatable performance to the average burnt out couple.
Steve Carell’s role is the key in this movie. While he doesn’t show much emotion beyond his humble psychiatrist approach, he is what breaks the couple down to help build them back up. It’s a fairly different role for him, being beyond the low self-esteem characters I am used to seeing him play. But at times, he comes off as really creepy. You never know, he could just be some guy who gets off on people telling him about their sex life. Probably not the case, but my mind wanders sometimes.
A good thing about this movie is that it can be something relatable not just to the older couples. These problems can arise with most relationships, and can even be fixed likewise. It brings hope that you can find something lost in your relationship.
I didn’t hate this movie as much as I expected. I was expecting a hate-fuck-shit-storm, but left with a very timid “meh”. It does justice for what it is. Nothing too heavy, in fact, awfully light at times, but that’s how it is. I can respect it (have I ever used that word? Respect? Is that how you write it?).
As a whole, Hope Springs brings a fairly boring subject and manages to maintain it at mildly interesting. With some decent chemistry and acting by the two main leads, you get a performance with a little character and charm in there. But there’s nothing in it to bring anything more out of me than “meh”. It could have been worse!
Hope Springs – 6/10