‘Hope Springs’ pays tribute to life’s awkward moments

Elizabeth Golden

Meryl Streep does it again in this summer sex dramedy geared toward an older crowd. With clever one-liners, natural dialogue and impeccable acting, “Hope Springs” is guaranteed to astonish.

Fueled by awkwardness, “Hope Springs” gives an insider’s point of view to couples counseling and the problems involved in long-term marriage. Kay (Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) have been married for 31 years, but recently seem to be strangers in their own home. In search of a way to spice up her life, Kay seeks help from a famous couple specialist (Steve Carell).

Above all else, this is a film about overcoming the difficulties in relationships. Time after time, films portray young couples getting together, breaking up and then getting back together for a happily-ever-after ending. This is a story about what happens after the happy ending.

30 years ago, Kay and Arnold were a young, in-love couple, but life took its toll and caused them to slowly drift apart.

Both Streep and Jones give extraordinary performances, which come as no surprise to movie critics and fans alike. Streep embraces every role to the fullest and truly becomes the character. Even from the first scene, Streep shows more emotion than most actresses show in an entire film.

Jones also brings characterization to his usual stone-cold disposition. He always seems to play a tough character with minimal emotion. As hard as it may be to picture, he actually smiles on occasion in this film. His chameleon personality allows him to adapt flawlessly to even the most uncharacteristic roles.

Carell also gives an exemplary performance in his role as the couple’s counselor. This is an unusual role for him since he focuses on a more serious part, which truly shows Carell’s versatility as an actor.

Writer Vanessa Taylor, best known for “Game of Thrones,” did an exceptional job creating  believable dialogue, making the interactions between characters snappy and comical while also adding a hint of seriousness. The conversations shown in “Hope Springs” feel like they could occur in everyday chatter.  Taylor interestingly weaves comedy with drama to create a perfect middle ground for real life to emerge.

On the production side, the only unfortunate part is Director David Frankel. Over the years, he has released bad film after bad film with his only hit being Streep’s “The Devil Wears Prada.” Frankel’s main problem seems to be that he doesn’t zone in on the most interesting aspects of his scenes. He could have benefited from different camera placements, as well as avoiding the whole camera-panning concept. He tends to move the camera side to side a little too quickly, making the picture out of focus at times.

“Hope Springs” is a wonderful film, purposefully making audiences uncomfortable from start to finish. The film is meant to look like a slice of life, which is full of awkward moments followed by uncomfortable situations.

Geared toward an older audience, this film can still be relevant to all ages but may not be appreciated as much as it should be. Some parts may make audience members cringe in their seats and other parts may make some want to walk out, but the ending makes the film worth watching. Every awkward and uncomfortable moment will be understood as the movie comes to a close.

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