Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep in a scene from the movie Hope Springs.
Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep in a scene from the movie Hope Springs. Contributed - Roadshow Films publicity website

Movie review: Hope Springs

THIS is no Hollywood sugar-coated romantic comedy.

Hope Springs is a tale about what happens when the fairytale has faded and explores the sometimes murky and dark waters of when the happy ending sours and sags.

This is marriage after 31 years, warts and all.

It's honest, raw at times heart-breaking and yet doused with a gentle comedy.

Kay and Arnold are a suburban couple living under the weight of a relationship filled with diminished expectations.

Their union has descended into dutiful boredom.

They inhabit a somber relationship filled with separate bedrooms and no spark.

For the grumpy, curmudgeonly Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) that's fine, but Kay (Meryl Streep) is silently drowning in a sea of her own unhappiness and is desperate to resuscitate their bond both mentally, emotionally and physically.

This film is just as much about what is unsaid and the body language plays as big a part as the actual dialogue.

From Streep's blushing, fumbling and wide-eyed innocence to Jones' posture which bristles with shrieks of 'do not touch'.

It is film filled with nuances and both are heroic in their portrayals.

It's an open and honest look at the effects of years of miscommunication, unsatisfied desires and unspoken needs on two individuals.

Both Jones and Streep are in top form.

Jones is a ball of bristling bully, who serves his comments with the bluntness of a brick.

Streep is a bundle of nervous energy and quiet desperation dressed up in smiles.

Carell is a little bland in his role as therapist but really only serves as a springboard for the stripping back of layers of the two leads.

The beautifully crafted breakdown-confrontation-confession scenes are so raw and constructed with such honesty it makes Dr Phil look like fantasy.

Combined with plenty of genuinely funny moments, Hope Springs is film made in cinematic heaven.


Hope Springs

  • Stars: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell
  • Director: David Frankel
  • Rated: M
  • Verdict: Four stars