Directed by David Frankel
Written by Vanessa Taylor
Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones & Steve Carrell
Last week we saw "Hope Springs" at a NYT Film Club screening. The first thought that entered my mind while watching it was wow, an American movie about people over 25 without a gun or a badge, amazing. But then you will be swept away by two of the best performances we'll see this year. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are at the absolute peake of their form. I doubt that any other American actors could have done as great a job as they do. If Jones and Streep are not nominated for Oscars this year, the awards won't be worth a damn. One more word about the acting: I think both have often used aspects of the character to create their performances (Streep is famous for her accents) in "Hope Springs" they are fully exposed with nothing between each of them and the camera except their talent and basic human understanding.
The story is essentially very simple. After 30 odd years of marriage Kay (Streep) and Arnold (Jones) have grown apart (to say the least). They don't talk, they don't touch, they don't even sleep in the same room. Kay grows tired of this situation and wants more. She finds a couples therapist (Steve Carrell) on the shelf in a bookstore and virtually demands that an extremely reluctant Arnold join her for therapy in the furthest reaches of Maine. I don't think it will give anything away to say that the rest of the film deals with Their struggle to either save or destroy their Marriage. Kay is unwilling to settle for the status quo and Arnold wants to keep everything as it is. Who wins and how it turns out for their marriage is what the film is all about. And it's a struggle that's worth sharing with them even if at times it might make you a bit uncomfortable. It did me.
"Hipe Springs" is a very real story about real people - not the usual Hillywood fantasies - struggling to find a way to live in a very complicated and destructive world. We need more films like this.