Let’s talk about sex
OU don’t have to be married for 31 years like the stuck-ina-rut couple Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones play in Hope Springs to feel inspired by the film’s message about the importance of keeping your relationship alive.
It sounds like a cliche because it is a cliche – and more. It’s a cottage industry, one that’s launched countless afternoon talk-shows and shelves of self-help books.
Despite a trailer that suggests pat, glossy superficiality, Hope Springs unearths some quiet and often uncomfortable truths.
The first produced script from TV writer and producer Vanessa Taylor ( Alias, Game of Thrones), Hope Springs explores the complicated dynamics that develop over a long-term relationship with great honesty and little judgment.
What looks like a standard rom-com turns into something akin to a contemporary Ingmar Bergman film.
Streep and Jones’s performances elevate the rather straightforward direction from David Frankel ( The Devil Wears Prada), which includes some painfully literal musical selections and a few hokey comic situations.
Streep’s character, Kay, sells clothes for middle-aged women in a chain store. She and her husband, Arnold, live in a comfortable home in Omaha, Nebraska. Their children have grown up and moved out, leaving them to settle into a drab routine.
Tired of their sexless complacency, Kay insists they take part in an intense, one-week couples’ therapy session with the soft-spoken but persistent Dr Bernard Feld (Steve Carell, playing a solid straight man).
The therapy scenes are exquisitely acted and paced, with body language and slight facial gestures that speak volumes.
The silences provide tension and intimacy, but once these two do begin answering questions, they reveal regrets and resentments, yearnings and fantasies they’d never dared to speak aloud before.
Without a single special effect or explosion, Hope Springs is a movie with real punch – so surprisingly effective, in fact, it will make you want to go home and have sex with your spouse – or at least share a longer hug.
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones star in