Hope Springs (2012)

Directed by David Frankel
Starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell

by Joshua Simpkins

Have you been married for decades? Has your marriage become stale, boring, or uneventful? Is the magic gone? Was there ever any magic to begin with? Do you and your spouse live different bedrooms? Is it time for a change? Do you want something more from your marriage? If you answered “Yes” to all these things then it just might be time for you to schedule an appointment with renowned marriage counselor, Dr. Feld (Steve Carell), in Hope Springs, Maine. He can help you turn your stuffy, worn-out marriage back into what it used to be, when you were young and in love. Run through those fields again, letting your hands brush through the tops of wild grass…wait? That’s sounds like that herpes commercial…Hmm…forget about that. Anyways, Dr. Feld can bring back the magic.

Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) have answered "Yes" to all the above questions. They have been married 31 years, sleep in different bedrooms, and barely speak to one another. They are in a rut. Kay is tired and wants something new. Arnold is unresponsive. She is unsure of what to do, until she discovers a book written by Dr. Feld (Steve Carell). Desperate to find something that works, she schedules Arnold and herself for an expensive week-long couples therapy with Dr. Feld in Hope Springs, Maine. Arnold is resistant to everything at first, but reluctantly agrees after Kay declares that she is going with or without him. Couples therapy begins and the hilarity ensues.

But, wait! You mean to tell me that there is not that much hilarity? That's not what the trailer, or marketing had me believe. I thought this was going to be hilarious! Where is the hilarity? Where is it? The truth is, this is a character study. This a simple movie about two people in a relationship. It is a movie about people talking. There are no bomb threats, no explosions, and no GGI, and not much hilarity. So, that is something that you should going into it. If you don't expect it, you might be disappointed.

A movie about people talking has got to have great acting for it to work and Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are excellent in Hope Springs. Both actors come across as totally believable Midwestern middle-aged couple. Meryl’s performance is nuanced and subtle while Tommy Lee Jones really is that grumpy old man we see on the screen. It is perfect casting. Steve Carell is really great as the therapist, and for any "The Office" fans out there, you might find it hard to believe his performance when you see it. Somehow he pulls off not being Michael Scott. It is a tribute to his acting skills, as well.

FORCE THE BOYFRIEND: 5 out of 10 (Tough call.  If you plan on going to actual couples therapy with him in the future then let him skip it)

Beer Pairing Recommendation
(It's brewed in Maine and its strong.  For couples therapy you're going to need it)

For more about the chick flick, visit IMDB 
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