Hope Springs is nothing of the sort; it’s a middle-aged romcom as Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep’s married couple ponder where the love in their marriage went.
Arnold and Kay have been married 31 years, the children have moved out, had kids of their own, and they’ve settled in to a routine as a result, as well as separate rooms.
Intimacy is not regular anymore, shall we say. So Kay takes them off to see Steve Carrell’s couples therapist, Dr Feld, for a week-long intensive course, with hilarious and surprisingly heartfelt results.
Watching Arnold squirm through therapy sessions as he’s asked about his sexual fantasies is hilarious, his awkward, insular nature slowly broken down and thawed, but the film’s trump card is its emotional honesty.
Vanessa Taylor’s screenplay ensures neither partner is wholly to blame, the intricacies of their history revealed piece by piece in the portrayal of a relationship that’s believably complex.
Lee Jones and Streep are superb in their roles; he as a gruff penny-counter prone to complaining and ruled by routine, her as a lonely housewife struggling to catch her husband’s eye.
Director David Frankel keeps things simple – there are few cinematic tricks, techniques or flashy moves here and even music is kept to a minimum – but with a cast this good he has no reason to do otherwise.
Good for: Showing the young ones they don’t have a stranglehold on relationship dramas
Starring: Meryl Streep, Steve Carrell, Tommy Lee Jones | 12A | 99mins