The audiences for ”Hope Springs” will be mostly married (or divorced) women over 45. Few men will see it, and that’s one of the many things that gives this movie on long term marital dysfunction it’s credibility.
Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep play a married couple in Nebraska. He’s a partner in an accounting firm. She a housewife with a part-time job in a woman’s clothing store. They sleep in separate bedrooms. He’s addicted to the Golf Channel. The kids are grown and out of the house. Their day-to-day lives are humdrum, unexciting and predictable. They haven’t had sex for over four years.
Streep’s character hears about a successful marriage counselor, played by Steve Carell, who has a practise in a picturesque small town in Maine. She gives Jones an ultimatum. She is going there for a week’s worth of sessions, and he can come or not. Reluctantly, at the last moment, he joins her on the trip.
It’s a rocky start. Jones is anything but comfortable about what the Carell is explaining and suggesting. Anger and hurt feelings come to the forefront quickly.
“Hope Springs” has some amusing moments, but it’s not an all out comedy. The pairing of Jones and Streep as the couple in trouble is inspired. They are so honest and realistic you really forget they’re actors. And the resolution to this story is about as candid and truthful as real life. Carell is very authentic as the therapist.
One word of caution. There will be many people who attend this film who will see themselves up on the screen.
That may not be a bad thing.