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Hope Springs

By AARON MESH
Here's a movie that features Meryl Streep shopping for bananas on which to practice fellatio, yet the only cringes it elicits are ones of recognition. A blessedly measured (if, truth be told, a little stagy) chamber piece, Hope Springs, gently plumbs a marriage where one spouse (Tommy Lee Jones) is resigned to kvetching and regret until death parts him from the La-Z-Boy, but the other partner (Streep) isn't ready to throw in the dishtowel. It has been tagged with the dreaded label "a movie for grown-ups"—three cheers for muesli!—but it's a cusp-of-retirement riff on the virginity-loss comedy, with the protagonists getting laid again for the first time. And without the rampant dishonesty of Nancy Meyers, at that. As written by Vanessa Taylor, a creator of the HBO couples-therapy series Tell Me You Love Me, it feels like an episode of unflinching television somewhat awkwardly shoehorned into the mold of conventional rom-com cinema. (Very conventional, at times: The score would be forgettable if it didn't refuse to leave, while Steve Carell is a little too unctuous as the bobbleheaded shrink.) Both leads are excellent: Streep resists her usual instinct to showboat, which makes her energy all the more ferocious. But it's Jones who owns Hope Springs, subverting his laconic-asshole persona with vulnerable lifts of those shaggy eyebrows, creating a man pained by the conviction that his desires can only cause disappointment. As a reward for finally trying, he gets his own late entry in the canon of theater-seat erotic pleasuring, a tradition stretching from from Mickey Rourke to Eugene Levy.
 
  • Genres: Comedy drama
  • Running Time: 100 minutes
  • Release Date: Wednesday, August 8, 2012
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13 [ Mature Thematic Content, Sexuality ]
  • Critic's Score: B
  • Starring: Meryl Streep [Kay], Tommy Jones [Arnold], Steve Carell [Dr. Feld], Brett Rice [Vince], Mimi Rogers [Carol], Elisabeth Shue [Karen], Jean Smart [Eileen], Damian Young [Mike], Ben Rappaport [Brad], Marin Ireland [Molly], Patch Darragh [Mark], Becky Ann Baker [Cora], Charles Techman [Charlie], Daniel Flaherty [Danny], Ann Harada [Ann]
  • Directed by: David Frankel [Director], Vanessa Taylor [Screenwriter], Todd Black [Producer], Guymon Casady [Producer], Steve Tisch [Executive Producer], Jason Blumenthal [Executive Producer], Nathan Kahane [Executive Producer], Jessie Nelson [Executive Producer], Florian Ballhaus [Cinematographer], Stuart Wurtzel [Production Design], Steven Weisberg [Film Editor], Ann Roth [Costume Designer], Theodore Shapiro [Original Music], Margery Simkin [Casting], Patricia Woodbridge [Art Director], George DeTitta Jr. [Set Decoration]
  • Visit the Movie Website | Watch the trailer
 

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