HOPE SPRINGS (12A)
Director: David Frankel
Cast: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell, Elisabeth Shue, Jean Smart, Ben Rappaport, Marin Ireland, Patch Darragh, Mimi Rogers
Release Date: Today
Cinema audiences are ageing and film companies are gradually acknowledging that they can no longer rely on 18- to 24-year-olds to guarantee healthy box office returns.
The King’s Speech amassed more than £45 million in the UK because the often-ignored over-50s headed to the multiplexes in their droves.
It’s little wonder that filmmakers are looking for stories that will appeal to older audiences, like Dustin Hoffman’s forthcoming directorial debut Quartet starring Smith and Michael Gambon set in a retirement home for opera singers.
Hope Springs will certainly appeal to this flourishing demographic.
David Frankel’s joyful romantic comedy charts the affairs of the heart of a long-time married couple, who are desperate to rediscover the spark that brought them together more than 30 years ago.
Arnold Soames (Jones) and his wife Kay (Streep) celebrate their latest wedding anniversary by buying each other cable television subscriptions.
The couple’s children Brad (Ben Rappaport) and Molly (Marin Ireland) sense all is not well, but Arnold appears unconcerned, content to stick to the same routines and sleep in a separate room to his wife.
Kay is deeply unhappy.
“When was the last time you touched me that wasn’t for a picture?” she tearfully asks her spouse.
In desperation, Kay uses her savings to buy a series of intensive couples counselling sessions with Dr Bernie Feld (Steve Carell), who runs the courses from his offices in coastal Maine.
Arnold begrudgingly accompanies Kay but he is reluctant to share his feelings.
After much prodding from Dr Feld, the husband reveals he has always dreamed about a threesome with their neighbour Carol (Mimi Rogers).
It’s a tentative first step towards greater openness that could save the marriage.
Hope Springs is smart, funny and sweet, underpinned by surprisingly convincing screen chemistry between Streep and Jones, who both bring gravitas and deep emotion to their roles.
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