Laughs for Mature Movie Fans
Anyone who enjoyed The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and is a fan of Meryl Streep or Tommy Lee Jones will want to see Hope Springs. Many viewers in that category understand how hard it is to keep a marriage intact as well as interesting and fresh.
That’s the dilemma facing Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones). They’ve been married for decades, and each sees their marriage differently. Kay moves through every day like a robot. She fixes Arnold the same breakfast, longs for a goodbye kiss -- which she doesn’t get -- as he grabs his briefcase and heads off to work.
Like a good wife in a public service announcement from the 1950s, she’s also dressed for dinner and has a wonderful spread on the table. Arnold eats, sits in his chair to watch golf, and falls asleep. They sleep in separate rooms, but one night Kay dresses in a pretty nightgown, longingly opens the door to his room and takes a coy stand inside waiting for him to notice her. Arnold rudely says, “What are you doing?” Once he figures it out, he tells Kay he’s sick.
Finally tired of crying herself to sleep, Kay registers them both for an intense couple’s therapy counseling week in Maine. Arnold, who refuses to go, must give in when Kay is about to leave without him. Arnold has no problem telling Kay what a stupid idea this is and how Dr. Feld, the psychiatrist, (Steve Carell) just rips them off.
Jones and Streep -- the perfect actors for this film – are probably the reason the story’s humor easily unfolds. Playing the unhappy wife or laughing as she tries new sexual maneuvers, Streep pulls off every element with textbook believably. Jones can play a curmudgeon with little effort, which he does quite well here, but it’s also nice to see him handling real laughter and making Arnold somewhat likeable.
Besides hitting a true note with many audience members, Hope Springs offers some alternative lessons about moving on with life.
(Released by Columbia Pictures and rated “PG-13” for mature thematic content involving sexuality.)
Review also posted at www.reviewexpress.com.