Hope Springs FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
Columbia Pictures, MGM, Management 360, Mandate Pictures and Escape Artists present a PG-13, 100 minute dramatic comedy directed by David Frankel and written by Vanessa Taylor with a theater release date of August 8, 2012.
The story centers around a slightly older than middle aged couple that have lost the spark in their 31 years of marriage. Kay (Meryl Streep) works at a clothing store along with her friend Eileen (Jean Smart) while Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) goes each day to his office. The film starts off a bit like “Groundhog Day” , same routines, go to bed, separate bedrooms, wake up, Kay makes one egg and bacon for Arnold, he stomps downstairs, eats then leaves for the office. Kay begins to wonder exactly what would it take to change a marriage and is it possible at their age. What would make a great marriage or at least one that you would want? Have we all asked ourselves that at some point as we became older and set in our ways. Grant it no matter what position we decide to have sex, at some point you’re going to get a glimpse of your partner and the wrinkles that have taken control!
Kay makes a decision to schedule a week away for her and Arnold in Hope Springs, Maine to see a counseling therapist, Dr. Bernard Feld (Steve Carell). Carell is way out of his norm here but honestly does a phenomenal job playing it straight. But I must say I did keep expecting him to break into his comedic side. Nope, doesn’t happen! Nor does it need too. He meets with them on a daily basis and covers their relationship past, present and future. No flashbacks on screen only conversations that help you to visualize what it may have been like for the couple in their younger years. Some of their conversations have become so verbally graphic that a few couples left the theatre. Maybe they too need to see Dr. Feld! Grant it at times I was beginning to feel like a bit of a voyeur myself. I must say that even though at times the scenes lagged a bit these roles really made Streep and Jones shine as actors, bringing out every ounce of their being, making their characters seem so real and familiar. Sometimes a bit too familiar!
Even though Kay and Arnold have two children the story never really focuses on them other than in the background. I was glad to see one of my favorite actress’s though when Kay goes to a local bar to escape her husband she orders a glass of wine from Karen, the bartender (Elizabeth Shue), a small role but noticeable.
It got a bit down and dirty several times especially during their fantasy conversations which involved Carol, the neighbor (Mimi Rogers) and her Corgi’s. I’ll leave that one alone for you to witness yourself! Overall the film is a great reflection of the vows a couple takes in marriage and the way time can forever change the ideas of what a marriage should be. Sometimes the flame dims and sometimes it goes out yet this story albeit a bit lengthy will help any couple realize what may have gone wrong throughout the years and just how to get it back. Kay and Arnold may or for that fact may not have found their mojo, so to speak!
A truly inspirational film with a look at reality and the life married couples may someday experience themselves in their golden years. Grant it with divorce rates so high maybe more people need to find Dr. Feld to help them explore their inner sexual needs and desires. I think most older couples will enjoy this story and probably learn a thing or two that can hopefully change their relationship for the better. Life is tough enough the way it is and sometimes the grass is not so green on the other side so if you need to see Dr. Feld, make an appointment at a theater near you. Written with two and half paws out of four by Jon Patch.
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