HOPE SPRINGS: “Two People Trying to Recapture the FLAME of Their Youth”

Meryl Streep as Kay
Tommy Lee Jones as Arnold
Steve Carell as Dr. Feld
Out in theaters August 8

Kay (Streep) and Arnold (Jones) have been married for 31 years. Their lives have become habit and routine. They also sleep in separate bedrooms. Kay longs for physical intimacy with her husband, but he is seemingly blissfully ignorant of Kay’s desires. Kay searches for a way to bring that spark back to their marriage and finds Dr. Feld (Carell) a therapist who specializes in fixing troubled marriages. Kay insists to Arnold they go see this therapist and Arnold thinks it’s a waste of time. He sees nothing wrong with their marriage, but he reluctantly agrees to go to the intensive couples’ therapy.

What can you say about Meryl Streep? She’s pitch-perfect as the much neglected Kay. Day in, day out, she’s busting at the seams. Her desperation to revive her marriage is almost tangible in every movement. Tommy Lee Jones, known for playing the tough guy, is a stubborn, ornery cuss here. Really, there’s no other way to describe him without using those words…Oh, I would also throw in crotchety and grumpy. As they begin therapy, Kay and Arnold try to revive their sex life through a variety of exercises designed to increase intimacy.

On the surface, and that is a deep and hard surface to crack, Arnold really feels that there is nothing wrong with their marriage, but little by little he slowly, grudgingly admits that he too would like a little intimacy, but is unsure or embarrassed of how to proceed. The surprise is that Steve Carell as Dr. Feld is the straight man here; none of his usual outspoken, outrageous, over the top, histrionics. He thoughtfully councils Kay and patiently puts up with Arnold’s grumpiness and abuse in order to steer the couple back toward sexual bliss. One of Dr. Feld’s directives is a prescription that Kay read Dan Anderson’s Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man.

Directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me), this movie is not what I expected. While there is plenty of humor (there’s a great scene in a supermarket with a tube of cookie dough), this is not a typical lighthearted romantic comedy romp. This is a warm and delightful story of two middle-aged people trying to recapture the flame of their youth. This movie will leave you with a good feeling, while wondering, “Is there something I can do to keep the spark in my relationship alive?” Just a heads up, there is explicit sexual innuendo, so if you embarrass easily, you may not want to bring mom or grandma with you. It’s perfect for a date though! *wink*

5 out of 5 stars.

Check out the trailer for Hope Springs below:

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