Hope Springs

First Hit:  Poignant and well-acted film about how love and real romance begins with communication.

Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) have been married for 31 years, sleep in separate rooms, and barely talk to each other.

Arnold complains or is critical about everything and appears to always be worried about spending money – he’s a tax accountant. Kay is a housewife with a part-time job in a clothing store. Kay is unhappy with the whole situation while Arnold seems complacent with the status quo. Kay decides to seek the assistance of Dr. Feld (Steve Carell) who helps couples re-find their magic through communication.

Kay throws down the gauntlet to Arnold by telling him, she’ll be on the plane and he can choose to go or not. Through Dr. Feld’s sessions Arnold and Kay struggle and learn to find their love and caring for each other again.

The story is filled with the truth of what happens to couples when they quit communicating with each other. Each person is stuck in their own comfort zone and struggling to find a way to move forward as their life is reaching their later stages.

The fearless quality of the script to have this couple in dialogue about real issues was fantastic. The acting by both Streep and Jones was outstanding.

Carell showed honest restraint while facilitating the direct discussion with dialogue between the couple with pointed questions.

The only fault I found with the film was that I didn’t believe that Jones and Streep had any real or believable romantic and physical chemistry. But this didn’t take away from the point of the film.

Streep was perfect as the woman who followed or, maybe better, acquiesced to her husband’s path for their life together as demonstrated by accepting of a water heater for Christmas. Jones was fantastic as a man who has insulated himself from life especially his wife. He’s loyal but he ignores her. Carell is really good here as a therapist and enjoyed the way he portrayed Dr. Feld. Elizabeth Shue had a minor role as Karen, a bartender in a Maine seaside bar, and it made me wish she was doing more films – she was really engaging. Vanessa Taylor wrote an outstanding script. David Frankel did a great job of bringing a pointed script to life and it has got to help when you have two actors like Streep and Jones.

Overall:  This was a thoroughly enjoyable film.