‘Don’t watch the trailer, all the good bits are in the trailer, your expectations will be too high for the film and you will be disappointed’. I have been told this many times but I love watching trailers, what is the point of the cinema without trailers. Yet on this rare occasion I arrived to a film practically blindfolded. Meryl Streep you say? Sold!
Directed by David Frankel, Director of ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and written by Vanessa Taylor, Hope Springs stars Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell. Positioning itself in the hollywood comedy-drama genre it tells the story of Kay and Arnold Soames a married couple played by Streep and Jones who have fallen into a sexless rut.
With the same old routine every day, sleeping in separate rooms and no sign of romance Kay wants a change. She books a week long therapy session with therapist Dr. Bernie Feld played by Carell to help rebuild their relationship, much to the disapproval of Arnold. Yet with the money spent and a little guilt Arnold turns up on the flight to help rescue their marriage.
The only highlights in this movie were the occasional wit particularly with Arnold’s resistance to share his feelings. They accurately capture the awkwardness and vulnerability within a therapy session especially for Arnold who finds the concept of sharing his personal life forced and uncomfortable. Carell’s character as therapist is very direct and open increasingly pushing Arnold’s boundaries. Dr Bernie Feld counsels Arnold and Kay to rekindle what their thirty plus year marriage once was. The couple progress very slowly but eventually gets the hollywood happy ever after story with the end of the film showing Arnold and Kay renewing their vows in front of their family (beside the credits).
There is no edge to this story, it is dragged out and boring. The only thing saving this movie is the great acting but that alone isn’t enough to carry the film. I can appreciate what the film was trying to do, with some funny dialogue and the film has an interesting concept but I wish other elements could have been brought forward that would have explored the dynamic on another level.
The story itself was wrapped in a truthful foundation that analysed the difficult aspects of a long marriage which when thinking about has the potential for a smart witty film and it did contain the emotional aspects that would be expected. Yet the film did not have enough funny moments to support the weak story and not always sharp dialogue. However the chemistry on screen is a credit to the actors excellent talent but the story may have been more suited to a TV movie. So I think the moral of this review is always watch the trailer before you see a film!