Does Hope Spring or Fall Flat?

Hope-Springs_2012_Couples-PosterMeryl Streep did it again. She garnered yet another Golden Globe Award nomination for her role in the David Frankel directed film Hope Springs. Trailers never sparked my interest, but I gave the flick a shot when I heard of Streep’s nomination.

Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) are trapped in a monotonous, tired, and unaffectionate marriage, so Kay decides to make a change. She signs them both up for an intensive week of counseling with Dr. Feld (Steve Carell).

To start, the characters fail to charm. I’m well aware that a good movie doesn’t depend on likeable characters that live happily ever after. Just the same, something about them has to capture me. Kay is mousy, submissive, and just plain pathetic while Arnold is narrow-minded, disrespectful and controlling. I was relieved when Steve Carell entered the picture—he’ll add some much needed humor and charm, I thought. But a surprisingly straight-faced and uninteresting Carell only asks the couple a series of awkward questions, making the film all the more unbearable.

Beware: my immaturity might show. It’s safe to say that hearing any couple talk about their sexual fantasies or history makes me want to plug my ears. And watching them struggle to get it on makes me want to cover my eyes. The bulk of the movie consists of these types of scenes.

The obnoxious score and uninventive camerawork did nothing to help the uncomfortable plot progression and dull performances. Maybe I was distracted by the subject matter and the fact that Steve Carell wasn’t making me laugh, but I found the performances completely flat—especially Meryl’s. The reason for her Golden Globe nomination? Essentially, the idea of rekindling love after 30+ years of marriage hasn’t been explored like this before. Yet, the issue may be pertinent to more couples than we think. Then of course, she’s Meryl Streep. People somehow think she’s epic in everything she does. So, unprecedented topic + the world’s favorite actress = nomination.

I like that the film calls attention to the need for affection and excitement no matter how long one’s been married. Exploring a deeper sense of this plot instead of focusing on sex could have been profound.

I will say that the clips shown as the credits rolled revealed the tenderness and light-heartedness I craved throughout the film. So, perhaps you could say hope springs by the end of the movie. However, for the most part, it fell flat.

The one thing I totally dug about Hope Springs? Kay’s artsy-chic, turquoise rimmed glasses. They were pretty fab!


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