(David Frankel, 2012)
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
Summary: A slightly uncomfortable blend of tones is salvaged by top notch performances from Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones.
'Hope Springs' probably would have worked better as a glossy bedroom comedy or as a straight drama, but David 'The Devil Wears Prada' Frankel's take on Vanessa Taylor's debut film script hovers uncomfortably between the two.
We open 30 years into the marriage of Kay and Arnold. They're played by Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones which instantly makes them feel familiar to us - this casting is important and right on the money. Arnold sleeps in the spare room on the firmer guest bed since his back went out, despite it healing months ago. When Kay suggests that maybe they should sleep together again, he avoids the subject and once again they're apart but under the same roof.
Kay makes plans for them to see a trendy small town doctor (Steve Carell) who specialises in bringing the sex back into stale marriages. Arnold thinks it's a scam, but he drags his feet along if only to get his wife off his back.
We all know that Arnold is going to open up and Kay will too, but we are probably expecting more a feel-good comedy than what it turns out to be. 'Hope Springs' is instead filled with awkward home truths and grating sex scenes.
While the tone is botched, 'Hope Springs' benefits greatly from its brave ideas, excellent performances and likeable characters. In a different director's hands with a tweaked script, this could have really sprung to life.
The Blu-ray contains numerous brief featurettes, a fun gag reel (Tommy Lee Jones: "Meryl Streep DOES NOT make mistakes!") and a director's commentary.
Check out the theatrical trailer for 'Hope and Springs' here at Cinemas Online.
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