Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) and Kay (Meryl Streep) have been married 31 years.
Arnold is a bit of a curmudgeon and Kay is a bit of a wallflower, but their lives tick happily along, not unlike many experienced couples.
However, with their kids grown and out of the home, Kay and Arnold are left with only each other’s company (excusing cable TV), and something important is lacking in their relationship: sex.
Kay decides they need couple’s therapy and Arnold reluctantly agrees to go to the tiny seaside town of Hope Springs, Maine to attend an intensive week-long counseling session with Dr. Feld (Steve Carell).
Can they return some intimacy to their relationship? Will their marriage even last the sessions?
We say, “It made both of us feel like we could be (slightly) better husbands.”
HOWE: Hope Springs is a very good movie, it feels realistic and the acting is top notch, but then again what would you expect from this fantastic cast?
TAYLOR: There were very few men in the cinema for this show, but it’s equally entertaining to both sexes. This is not a romantic comedy; it’s not exactly about love and it’s not mushy. In fact, it is quite clinical and even demonstrative. I wondered, for instance, why this picture was rated PG. Children have no business seeing this movie. Husbands and wives should go.
HOWE: I get what you’re saying. When you watch the trailer and it shows all the funnies, it looks like you could take the kids to watch this. But be warned, if you do, you’d better be ready for their questions: “Mommy, what is that lady doing?” or “Daddy, why is she moaning, is she hurt?” I feel Hope Springs will appeal more to the mature audience, as it touches on some squirm factor issues that some young adults can’t relate to just yet.
TAYLOR: It’s a smart movie about the psychology of long-term relationships, biological desires and how little things turn big when you add time. The talking cure is often uncomfortable for its patrons, which was brought up in the film by Arnold the grump. No one can fix their problems by skirting the issues. You have to name it to claim it, and claim it to take away its power. Thus, Arnold has to bring up his personal feelings despite not wanting to and this creates the drama in the film. However, there are plenty of light moments, plenty of laughs.
HOWE: Yeah, I did laugh a few times. I also felt for them and that’s credit to the actors and also to the director, David Frankel, who has given us other good movies like The Devil Wears Prada and The Big Year. (By the way, this is a very good, little-known movie starring Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin.)
TAYLOR: I think Hope Springs will also be coming to the Towne Theatre, so if you miss it at the Galaxy, check it out downtown.
–– Howe gives Hope Springs 3 corgis out of 5.
–– Taylor gives it 3.5 Viagras out of 5.
The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.
–– Peter Howe and Brian Taylor are film reviewers living in Vernon, B.C.