An aging couple couple (Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones) seek help from a marriage guidance counsellor (Steve Carroll) in romantic drama Hope Springs.
The film explores the discomfort of inviting a third person into the intimacy of a failing marriage and the pain of confronting one’s own part in the floundering state of affairs.
Tommy Lee Jones brings his familiar ‘gruff guy’ persona to the role of Arnold who has forgotten how to woo wife Kay (Streep). Throughout the film Jones scowls and sours as Arnold is forced beyond his comfort zone by falling into line with Kay and counselor Dr. Feld’s wants.
Sufficiently smarmy and insincere that he never truly becomes likable, Field is nevertheless Carroll’s least annoying role yet.
But while the two actors provide a dependable presence, the undeniable star of the film is Streep who believably and credibly compresses herself into the role of ordinary housewife Kay.
Not a hint of Streep’s Lady Thatcher or Miranda Priestly leaks out of Kay’s polyester blend outfits which mask a sexual adventurer wanting to be let out and appreciated.
The genre calls for a happy ending but Vanessa Taylor’s script provides just enough ambiguity along the way to make the outcome seem in doubt and the journey worth making.
In cinemas September 14th.
Our verdict: 4/5