Hope Springs | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Hope Springs

Ride along as an older married couple goes through counseling and "sexercises"


This is not the madcap comedy the TV commercial makes it look like. Nor is it the pretty romance the heavily-airbrushed poster advertises. David Frankel's film hews closer to a low-key dramedy, in which a long-married but emotionally distant couple from Nebraska spend a week in "intensive couples' therapy," at a cute coastal Maine town (cutely named, of course, "Hope Springs"). Tommy Lee Jones plays the taciturn husband, Meryl Streep his lonely wife and Steve Carrell the therapist. 

Hope gets credit for being written better than most Hollywood domestic tales (though I hated the ending), and who doesn't enjoy watching Streep and Jones do anything? But let's be frank: Most people don't want to be trapped in a room listening to a painfully inarticulate couple discuss what's wrong with the intimate workings of their marriage, and that's pretty much what this film is. 

The experience, which was probably meant to be inspirational, falls somewhere between uncomfortable and depressing, with the added confusion of being hyper-conscious of watching two A-list stars act like lonely Joes from Omaha. If I may be glib, this curious summer offering is like somebody took the cringey awkwardness of a European arthouse relationship drama and spruced it up for Lifetime, with flowery sweaters, Annie Lennox songs and a cute ending.

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