“Hope Springs” Only Seems Eternal

Who are these people and why should we care about them?

These are the questions facing anyone unwise enough to shell out eight dollars to see David Frankel’s film, an example of therapy gone boring.

Who are these people and why should we care about them? We never know the answer to the first. But 15 minutes in it is pretty clear there is no why.

We know Kay is unhappy.  We know why. We’ve met Arnold.

We know Arnold is unhappy.  We’re not sure why but pretty sure we don’t care.  We don’t know whether Dr. Feld, a New England interpersonal Yoda, has any feelings beyond kind bemusement.

It takes a lot for this reviewer to dislike a film starring Meryl Streep and/or Tommy Lee Jones.  It takes a lot for this filmgoer to find Steve Carell irritating.

Director David Frankel has managed both.  As a late Baby Boomer I am very interested in the subject matter of relationships over time and how we change.

Shifts in character come from neither arc nor revelation, just grinding gears.

The ick factor for me wasn’t about aging adults exploring and addressing sexuality and intimacy.  The ick factor (especially the massage scene… I’ll say no more) came from editing preoccupied with action devoid of meaning.

Hope arises from depth.  This film floats on the surface with gestures of character and indication of story.

With apologies to Ms. Streep and Mr. Jones, I would like my eight dollars back.

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