I’d be lying if I said that the missus dragged me to see this movie yesterday. But…actually…there was no arm twisting involved; no kicking and screaming; no clinging to the heaviest piece of furniture available. In fact…truth be told…it was I who suggested it.
Do what? Yeh, yeh. I know. One look at the trailer and you can see that Hope Springs is one for the Chick Flick section, at the video store. No fight scenes or cars chases; it’s all about relationships. No jumping out of planes and pulling the rip-cord at the last possible moment, to make the male heart skip a beat. It’s more the romantic one-liner variety, guaranteed to make her heart skip a beat. What’s fun about that?
It’s also a story as old as the hills: Boy obviously met girl; fell in love; then came marriage and kids. (Back in a time when tradition dictated that particular sequencing). Cut to a time when the kids are grown, long flown the nest and the wife/mother feels like she’s living with a stranger. What’s novel about that?
I imagine the majority of viewers will be a tad longer in the tooth than the Cyrus/Bieber generation. The type of person that’s got one or two relationships (or love handles) under their belt. Almost certainly they’ll have experienced their first grey hair. (“It’s not grey man, I’m tellin’ ya. It’s platinum blond”). But the subject matter is actually quite interesting, the story well written, plus with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in the lead roles, you can tell it will be well acted and thought provoking.
Not everyone will identify with the characters age-wise; plus no-one wants to think of their parents (let alone grand-parents) as sexual beings; but actually this is about relationships and communication (or lack there-of) and is therefore relevant to everyone: rich, poor, old, young, straight, gay; regardless of race or religion. Nobody likes to be taken for granted and who among us wants to become a grumpy old fart? (And more importantly would you recognize the fact it you do)?
Like I say, the subject matter is nothing new. We all know the stereotypes. Plus the thinking that can f*** up any relationship: “If he doesn’t know what’s wrong, I’m not gonna tell him”. “No I don’t tell her I love her every day, but she knows how I feel”. But the same pit-falls come back to bite us in the ass…generation after generation…time and (predictable) time again. Maybe if we look at the situation just once again, it’ll finally sink in? I doubt it, but this was enjoyable (gentle entertainment) none-the-less. ;o)
It was refreshing to see Steve Carell in a semi-serious support role; tho’ every time he smiles I still expect that it won’t be long ’til I do too. No Carell one-liners appeared as far as I remember. But I’m sure he had fun playing it straight for a change.
Meryl Streep was (as usual) the artistic driving force. And the story-line was obviously from the woman’s point-of-view at the outset. But watching Tommy Lee Jones’ character unfold is what warmed the middle section of the movie and had us rooting for a happy ending.
One look at his face has you judging a book by it’s cover: macho, unemotional, stuck in his ways. So it was nice to see that Tommy’s acting chops can actually bring more depth. In fact, both Streep and Jones did an excellent job of portraying a whole range of emotions. There was tears, laughter, embarrassment, anger and I for one lapped it up. It was one of those movies where time passes without you noticing; but it seems just the right length. A story neatly told, job done, credits role, lights up, let’s go.
My favorite parts included: Streep’s nerves and rejection at the start of the movie; Tommy Lee joining her on the plane; Meryl’s antics in the movie theater and her embarrassment in the book store; Jones’ tirades over wasting time/money and his resistance to open up; the homework scenes and the emotions they evoke.
Soppy bugger I know, but maybe it’s the phase of my life right now. I’d give Hope Springs a 4 out of 5. I’d think the younger generation could glean something from it, before they make too many relationship mistakes of their own. But having raised 3 children of my own, I know you can never tell ’em anything ;o)