Finally a movie to get my sister off to the cinema! It’s hard to believe sometimes that we are related because she goes to the movies twice in a good year and once in an average year.
We scheduled a movie date two weeks ago for my mother (who is a moviegoer), my sister, and me to see Hope Springs and – overall – a good time was had by all this evening.
Director David Frankel and writer Vanessa Taylor both come to Hope Springs with several TV series under their respective belts (not the envelope-pushing kind), but this film turns out to be a smidge or two above expectations because of the indelible performances delivered by Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep as a married couple in need of some intensive therapy after 30 years of growing apart.
Watching Tommy Lee Jones inhabit a detached yet angry accountant, Arnold, is worth investing the admission price and the 100 minutes of running time. Actually, the performance given by his eyes and his mouth alone are worth that investment!
And, hey, that Meryl Streep is no slouch either as his frustrated and insecure wife, Kay. The other main character, their therapist, is played by a luminous (yes, that’s the word I meant to use) and subdued Steve Carell.
While I was watching the film, I remembered something a good friend of mine, a wise poet, once said to me, “What do we see in the person we love?” At the time, I tried hard but with no luck to figure out a meaningful answer before she provided it, “We see the person we love.”
I think she is right. Love is inexplicable.
And, it can be complex. I think Hope Springs goes into some surprisingly dark emotional spaces to try to help this estranged couple, Kay and Arnold, figure out whether or not there is a way back to the connection they once shared.
There are funny moments and sad moments, but there is not much of the cookie cutter cuteness that, from seeing the preview trailer, I feared might mar the film.
Though we all like the movie, there is one point of divergence between my sister’s read on it and mine: the music. She likes the contemporary pop/adult alternative tunes (probably chosen to try to market to a younger demographic), but to me these songs seem clumsy, intrusive, and not-quite-right as a soundtrack. Hers is probably the more popular perspective.
Even though it was a bit spot on in terms of context and content, I did like the use of diegetic sound in one scene when Art plays Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”
Hey, I have that song on my iPod, too…I might listen to it now.