No doubt any marriage that has lasted 31 years is a deep vein of emotional drama, but Hope Springs fails to mine that rich source with either sensitivity or humour. It attempts to be a relatable chick flick for the gold card crowd, but the characters are so one-dimensional and cliché that most baby boomers will find this portrayal of their generation insulting. More
Doting wife Kay is the character equivalent of a potato sack. If anyone can make that look good, it’s Meryl Streep but even the grand dame of cinema barely manages to render insipid in an interesting way. Kay is a boring housewife from boring middle America. Every morning she makes boring bacon and eggs for her boring husband who doesn’t appreciate them, when what she really wants is some spice in the sack. Tommy Lee Jones in gruff hubby mode is slightly more watchable, slouching through his daily routine like a gorilla with a sore head.
When the film finally relocates from suburban monotony to a picturesque seaside village (with the horribly on-the-nose name Great Hope Springs) it slides into another rut. In a series of couch sessions, Kay and Arnold gradually divulge their marriage problems to Steve Carrell, whose comedic ability is utterly wasted as the couple’s benign and sympathetic therapist. Further aggravation arrives when emotional scenes are supposed to take hold, director David Frankel giving us a shove by hammering the moment with an overbearing, easy listening soundtrack.
Kay suffers from menopausal angst. As the years advance she’s realising that, despite her expectations, things may never get any better. I had the same sensation watching this film. Hide