Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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NY1 Movie Review: "Hope Springs"

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Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones team up in "Hope Springs," a new film about a middle-aged couple trying to reignite a romantic spark in their marriage. NY1's Neil Rosen filed the following review.

Three-time Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep teams up with Oscar winning actor Tommy Lee Jones in a new film called "Hope Springs."

Kay and Arnold, played by Streep and Jones, have been married for 31 years. They're empty-nesters and their marriage is in a rut. They haven't had sex for five years and they sleep in separate bedrooms. There's no arguing going on between these two, just a bit of boredom.

But Kay wants more, so she spends $4,000 for an intensive one-week marriage rescue retreat in Maine. Conducted by an expert couples counselor, played by Steve Carell, he asks them many uncomfortable questions, forcing them to examine their love life and reveal their sexual fantasies, which they've never shared with each other, until now.

I have to give the filmmakers credit for dealing with sensitive subject matter like this, that isn't often seen on screen. But despite these good intentions, the film just doesn't cut it.

Watching Streep and Jones awkwardly fumble around sexually, trying to reignite a spark in the bedroom, as realistic as it might be, is quite uncomfortable to watch. These scenes are sometimes played for both drama and laughs, and there's too much screen time devoted to them.

The characters, as written, are also a bit stereotypical. Jones is the cranky guy who initially wants no part of this voyage of discovery and complains every step of the way. Streep just wants things to be better, and if weren't for the great acting from both of these skilled performers, the movie would completely fall flat. But Jones and Streep are so good, so subtle, so totally believable, that they not only elevate the proceedings, they almost make it worth seeing.

But extraordinary acting alone just doesn't make it worth the trip. The screenplay and direction are too weak and although there are a few decent moments, including a a couple of very heartwarming ones, overall it misses the mark.

Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating Scale: 2 Apples ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP