Director David Frankel, (THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA) has taken two Oscar winning geniuses best known for their dramatic roles and matched them with a comedic virtuoso in what has to be the dramatic comedy to see this year- Hope Springs. Long time television writer Vanessa Taylor (Alias and Game of Thrones) makes her feature screenwriting debut and there is already talk of the leads taking over the awards season. It is quite clear to see why.
After 31 years, all the sparks have gone from the marriage of Kay, MERYL STREEP, and Arnold, TOMMY LEE JONES. Everything has become routine, so Kay decides to re-ignite it. Unfortunately husband Arnold's apparent lack of interest is becoming increasingly frustrating.
That is until Kay finds a book by well-known Marriage Counselor, Dr. Bernie Feld (Steve Carell). So impressed with the information in the book, Kay signs herself and Arnold up for an intense marriage counseling week with Dr. Feld. Arnold at first resists but reluctantly he accompanies her to Great Hope Springs, a seaside town in Maine, to attend sessions with Dr. Feld. What follows is a wise and witty tale of their counseling and its impact.
“Hope Springs” is a very clever film, because it not only a comedy. By thinking it is, you may miss the basic core of the film. There is humor but there is also drama and heart that give the movie it's strength. This is a story of two people who are lost from each other and are attempting to find their way back. The humor that comes out of the situations seems natural, yet it is also smart and witty. Cheap laughs it's not.
Another example of why Streep and Jones are Oscar winners. Their ability to excel in such a diverse range of roles from drama to comedy is quite amazing. But the real surprise here is in Carrell's performance. Quite different to his usual comedic roles. His brilliance here comes with very few sly looks or one liners, yet he is still funny. There will be no surprise here if I see all three recognized by the Academy next year.
You will definitely like this if you like to see Meryl Streep's brilliance in anything she does!