'Hope Springs' stars Meryl Streep & Tommy Lee Jones
photo credit: Barry Wetcher, Sony Pictures
Streep's character Kay Soames has sunk into the doldrums over her faded connection with hubby Arnold Soames (Jones). He's fine—content to be a work-a-day accountant with a comfy routine at home. He barely notices that he and his wife no longer share the same bed, or even the same bedroom.
Arnold doesn't have a clue anything is wrong until he learns that Kay has consulted with therapist Dr. Bernie Fields (Steve Carell). Arnold becomes curmudgeony and caveman-ish (not a stretch for actor Jones) and has no desire to go with his wife for counseling. No way, no how.
"Finally he does go," Tommy Lee Jones said, "with a grudge, a resentment and a fear of intimacy." "These two people fit into traditional roles," said Meryl Streep. "They're grounded in the every day and the quotidian but they have real, real problems underneath."
A three-decade long marriage hitting a slump is not anything unusual but the story works due to a smart script with touching moments and comic relief.
“Hope Springs” also stars Elisabeth Shue as a bartender and Mimi Rogers as Carol, the sexy neighbor. The screenplay is by Vanessa Taylor, a writer with a long list of quality TV credits including "Game of Thrones" and "Alias." The director is David Frankel, best known for "Devil Wears Prada" and "Marley & Me."
Frankel knew Jones was the right man to play Arnold, "Sure he's weathered and experienced and not a spring chicken, but he still has it." Frankel said, "He's still a guy men want to be and women want to go out with. He's got that thing."
Word to the wise: If your own wedded bliss is strained, you may learn a valuable take-away from this movie. So, instead of schlepping around in this heat, take an air-conditioned break, eat some popcorn and enjoy.
Rated PG-13. 100 minutes. Opens today, August 8, 2012.
Written for the Examiner