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Not many young adults would see the appeal in a movie about the ins and outs (if you’ll pardon the pun) of an older couple trying to rekindle their intimacy free and sexless marriage, there’s a taboo surrounding the idea of couples older than 50 having intimate relationships, much less craving one. However, Hope Springs takes a comedic and sometimes heart-wrenching look at how sometimes if something is broken, it’s not all that easy to fix, whilst grabbing the bull by the horns and bringing a love story between a mature couple in to a Hollywood filled with the same story about a young, beautiful boy and a girl falling in love.
Meryl Streep is instantly believable as a frustrated, emotionally drained wife, a performance that could, by any other actress come across as a coldness towards her husband, is instead spectacularly depicted as a desperate craving for the love she once had. Similarly, Tommy Lee Jones excellently portrays a content, yet grumpy husband with a naivety surrounding his wife’s emotions and together they are effortlessly seen as a couple who love and cherish one another, yet feel that something is missing. The script is exceedingly well written, with moments of comedy placed perfectly amongst the film’s more serious, emotional points. As a viewer, you are able to feel the range of emotions in both Streep’s character of Kay, and Lee-Jones’s character of Arnold through a melodious mixture of excellent writing and superb performances from the two leads.
Although used to comedic roles, Steve Carell takes on an entirely sober role as Dr. Feld, a marriage counsellor from Maine. Carell is surprisingly authentic as a therapist and allows the audience to feel the embarrassment and awkwardness that Kay and Arnold feel. Due to the convincing portrayals by all three protagonists, it’s easy to drift in to Carell’s therapist office and imagine that you are sat on the sofa being asked anything about your relationship, from your first kiss to your sex life, by this total stranger.
In terms of the storyline, part way through the film the narrative takes an unexpected detour from the route that you would imagine it would follow. However, unlike some films where the detour turns out to be a huge mistake where you wish the screenwriter had stuck to the proverbial map, the consequences of the swift change of direction allows you to become even more attached to the characters, once again indebted to the film’s gifted cast.
Overall, Hope Springs is a wonderful, feel-good movie that is great for young and old adults alike. Whilst it may be more relatable to the older generation, younger viewers will be filled with a sense of what’s to come and hope for the future. With skilful direction, a vivid script and skilful acting, Hope Springs is definitely one to watch.