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Couple gets their marriage back on track in 'Hope Springs'

Dec. 27, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

Movies & More reviewer John Gillispie thinks Meryl Streep gives a fine performance in "Hope Springs," which may be uncomfortable for some people to watch.

"Hope Springs," which is rated PG-13 and now available on DVD, takes a look at a married couple's sometimes-awkward-but-also-heartfelt attempts to get their love life on track.

Although it seems to me that "Hope Springs" has been promoted as a comedy, the movie shows us the routine married life of Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) and is depressing at times. The couple's children are grown and Kay and Arnold live together but sleep in separate bedrooms. They don't seem to talk about their feelings or the other important things in life.

At Kay's insistence the couple go on a trip to receive counseling from Dr. Feld (played by Steve Carell). Carell's character comes across as a professional who wants to help Kay and Arnold find each other again and save their marriage. I think it would have helped the movie to show us Carell's character interacting with a member of his family or in a setting outside of his office to show another side to the character and give Carell more to do.

The characters in "Hope Springs" talk about sex a lot and I felt that some of the discussions and exercises given to the couple by Dr. Feld were uncomfortable to watch. Yet, the movie does seem to show us a couple's honest attempts to talk about how their marriage came to be the way it is. Kay and Arnold try to get their love life working again, but it takes time and that seems realistic as well.

Tommy Lee Jones' character is a little difficult to like in the beginning, but as the movie continues, his character's actions become easier to understand.

Elisabeth Shue has a great scene as a bartender who tries to make Kay feel better. Jean Smart and Mimi Rogers also have small roles in the film.

So, there are a few laughs in "Hope Springs" but I felt the movie was much more serious than funny.

John Gillispie is the public relations director for the Huntington Museum of Art. Contact the writer at jgillisp@hmoa.org.