Movie Review: Hope Springs (2012)

Posted: May 25, 2013 in Drama

hope springs

 

Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) has been married to his wife Kay (Meryl Streep) for 31 years.  The spark has gone out of their marriage, and they are no longer intimate.  Arnold seems perfectly content to let the marriage continue as it is, but Kay is unhappy, so she cashes out a 4000 dollar cd to drive to Maine and see renowned relationship therapist, Dr. Feld. (Steve Carell) Unable to talk Kay out of her commitment to see the doctor, Arnold goes along. Dr. Feld asks the couple to try several exercises to try to increase their intimacy, Kay seems willing to try while Arnold thinks this is a waste of time and money.  Does Arnold warm to the exercises?  Do they find the intimacy they once had?  Or is their marriage truly in trouble?

One word springs to mind while watching this movie, that word is awkward.  The characters are written to be awkward with each other, and that makes for uncomfortable movie watching.  The movie is so formulaic that the viewer knows the ending even before the movie starts.  Hope Springs is not funny enough to be a comedy, and not serious enough to be a drama.  It’s a dramady, and if there’s one thing I absolutely cannot abide in Hollywood, it’s a dramady, they never work. And this one absolutely does not work. Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep are excellent actors, but they are boxed in by a horrible script, and they can’t box themselves out of it.  Jones plays an absolute ogre, and Streep plays his mousy obedient wife, and that is just an awful combination. They have no chemistry, and that is a direct result of the badly written, tear jerky script. I’m used to Streep playing strong minded, resolute women like Maggie Thatcher, not this doormat.  I know Tommy Lee Jones can do comedy, he was funny in Men In Black.  I expected Steve Carell to provide some comedy relief, but he was as serious as a funeral, spouting some psychobabble, and when Carell couldn’t make me laugh, I metaphorically threw my hands up and gave up on this film.

The pacing is leaden, given how deadly serious this movie was, slow pacing was not the answer. 90 minutes seemed like 3 hours.  Slow pacing + dramady = dull.

Hope Springs. Hope less.

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