heypresstest.co.uk
Main Menu
Random photo
Picture/Mirror Frame

Picture/Mirror Frame

I Give It A Year
Image of two mismatched silver rings on a year calendar

The Hobbit - Review
Ink drawing on parchment of the Lonely Mountain with a compass on the top left.

Hope Springs Review
Photo of a fountain.

More Sunsets
Sunset over the Thames and Canary Wharf. Click to go to Sunsets and Dawns Gallery for new pictures

The Sapphires Review
Photo of a green toy army truck on a boomerange resting on the strings of a guitar.

Review: The Wedding Video
Image of Image of three empty wine glasses on a white table cloth with place fanme with purpe bow, all in pinkish light.

Olympic Torch in Finchley
Danuta Ryland carrying the Olympic Torch through Finchley, London 2012.


blog header logo

SmartSection is developed by The SmartFactory (http://www.smartfactory.ca), a division of INBOX Solutions (http://inboxinternational.com)
Articles > Reviews > Hope Springs
Hope Springs
Hope Springs

Hope Springs
by Chartreuse 15/8/2012 13.54

Photo of a fountain. Hope Springs both eternal and in the small town that houses and supports Dr Feld's couples therapy practice. Neglected, lonely wife Kay, played by Meryl Streep, cracks open her nest egg for the $4k for herself and her grumpy, distant husband, Arnold, (Tommy Lee Jones), to spend a week there attempting to restore intimacy to their past sell-by-date marriage.

I went to see this film on the strength of the trailer which presented the most comic and light romantic moments and on that level was sold a pup. This is an often painful dissection of a common state of a thirty-something year old marriage. Streep and Jones turn in such finely tuned and truthful performances that they can reasonably expect Oscar nominations and it is those very renditions of a couple who love across a chasm of years of unexpressed emotions that makes this so poignant. Paragraphs of monologue are conveyed by a shift in the seat or a tilt of the head. It is intimately observed and compassionate. There is no villain of the piece even though Arnold is initially scornful and resistant yet still loves and values his wife and dreads ending up like his divorced work colleague, who wishes he could turn the clock back and do things differently. Within minutes we begin to feel deeply for and with Arnold and Kay, and wince at the personal questions broached by Steve Carell's patient but persistent Dr Feld, and the homework he hands out.

Tommy Lee Jones deftly plays his character who becomes increasingly sympathetic as the narrative progresses. Streep as a shy, sweet pretty but slightly frumpy lower-middle-class housewife and clothing store assistant is a far cry from the trim, chic, powerful Miranda of the The Devil Wears Prada (also directed by David Frankel) and yet she simply glows quietly in whatever part of the frame she occupies. Steve Carrel gives a kind, rock-in-the-storm performance that is almost distractingly appealing.

This is a film of its time. A generation who grew up around parents who didn't talk about 'that sort of thing' who never knew of anyone who had therapy of any kind and saw couples die embittered but still legally entwined rather than throw in the towel. Now relationships are a matter of open discussion, couples therapy happens on talk shows and self-help is just a google away. Mercifully, in thirty years time this story will make no sense except historically. Hope Springs is a lesson in the importance of communication both for those in an existing relationship and those who would like to have one.

Thirty-three years ago Streep starred in Kramer v Kramer, a ground-breaking movie about another pro-active woman in a similar situation who chooses leaving her husband and child over suicide, a shock-horror act at the time when a woman was still rated by her achievements in motherhood. Hope Springs is of a similar emotional order and I would say no more of a comedy than Kramer.

Vanessa Taylor, an old hand at scripting for TV including for Game of Thrones, wrote Hope Springs as her first screenplay for film, drawing on her divorced parents, her father's input as a psychiatrist and her own experience of therapy.

Comic highlights are positional logistics and suggestive groceries. There are no flawless bodies yet it is gently erotic as their relationship outgrows their bargain basement life to luxuriously romantic. The 5.30 audience of 20 people rattling around in screen four seemed mostly comprised of couples two of which surprisingly left during the credits which is still showing the end of the story perhaps eager to go and discuss the state of their own unions. My male movie buddy, equally misled by the most comedic moments trailer, described Hope Springs as 'melancholy' and said that left to himself he wouldn't have bothered going to see it but having done so rated it 'good'. He thought that Arnold's issue with eye-contact was not addressed satisfactorily but that the film succeeded in avoiding sentimentality.

Hope Springs is often touching, frequently vicariously embarrassing, sometimes humorous. It shows the possibility of life after the death of passion in a relationship. It is fair, it is kind and above all, it is hopeful. Even having been drawn to see it under false pretences, I have no regrets about the ticket and popcorn price and no hesitation in recommending it.

More articles

  View this article in PDF format Print article Send article

Other articles in this category Hits
Now You See Me - And You Should
766
Red 2: Lively Nightshade
1804
I Give It A Year - and Two Thumbs Up
2740
Django Unchained - Bountiful Entertainment
2050
The Hobbit - Through a Children's Book to an Adult Epic
2976
Life of Pi - Do You Believe in Miracles?
1890
Skyfall - The Rise of Bond and the Day of the Old Guard
918
Great Expectations - of Critical and Box Office Success
2031
The Sapphires - Outshining Dreamgirls
2933
Frankenweenie: Disney Does Horror
1977
Once Upon a Time: Stories in Paint by Peter Gallagher
1080
Hope Springs
3248
Bells: Kathak and Aerial Ballet Fusion in Olympic Torch Day Celebrations
3226
The Wedding Video: Wait for the DVD
3248
Once Upon a Time: Stories in Paint by Peter Gallagher
1049
Brave: A Tale of Bears, Conflict and Needlework
2665
Ice Age 4: Continental Drift Warms Cinema Seats
2540
Midnight in Paris - time-travel celebrating the present
1477
Royal Academy - Summer Exhibition 2011: a private view
1303
Harry Potter 8: The Last Battle
916
The 39 Steps - Ups and Downs at the Criterion
1086
Camera Obscura - The Focal Point of Edinburgh
2309
The World Cafe
1168
Tangled
1009
Exuberance at Giuseppe's
1248
Tax Disc Renewal Online - in Just 3 Days!
1509
Wagamama for Gluten-free, Dairy-free Dining
1960
The King's Speech
1097
Blade Runner on Blu-ray
1156
Apocalyse No!
1118
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Hogwarts: The Soap
119191
Bruno - Fantastische Funkyzeit or OTT und Offensive
1229
London Eye - Fast Track
10017
Gum Check Up
93897
Ice Age 3: Cool but Slow to Warm Up
1128
Star Trek 2009 Movie
1064
Armed and Dangerous
1134
 
The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

 
Search
Feel Better Films
Red petunia in rising sunlight

The Virgin Articles
Image of two small green plants in snow

Red 2 Review
Image of the digit 2 in red on a smokey black background

Django Review
Image of the letter D embossed on tan leather spattered with blood across the lower half

Life of Pi Review
Image of the symbol pi in a circle drawn in white sand on blue water.

Frankenweenie Review
Image of the word 'Frankenweenie' in a horror font in white on a black background.

Great Expectations Review
Image of water next to a muddy gritty shore with the words in white italic script: Great Expectations.

Bells and Kathak
Image of three dancers in red costumes holding a large bunch of white balloons

New Cranes Gallery
Three white cranes on the Shard

Ice Age 4 Review
Chalk drawing of Scrat with a nut.

Review of Brave
Image of Vue cinema internal glass door with red-haired triplet appearing to peep around it, an a poster of Brave in the background showing Merida.