I have to admit- I hated Hope Springs the moment I saw the lazy poster promoting it followed by completely charmless trailer. I hated it so much that I even promised myself not to see it (and I wasn’t even shocked when this promised I broke during this year’s Cinema Showcase), however, I truly didn’t understand that the reasons for my initial hatred were nothing compared to the true loath that I was about to experience while watching new old-people-have-sex-too film with Meryl Streep (whose mission in life nowadays seems to be breaking the ‘taboo’ which I never knew existed) and tired as hell
Clint Eastwood Tommy Lee Jones.
Old people having sex NOT being the case then, what problem do I have with Hope Springs? Surely, it’s just one of these innocent, charming little rom-coms that one can watch on Sunday afternoon and forget about it straight away while still feeling quite good about life in general? Actually the problem is that none of these qualities apply to Hope Springs. Here is why:
Innocent might not be the right name for them, but I use this adjective to describe movies that make plot decisions that have no deep political, social or cultural consequences. Of course, we can easily state that any change in story has some sort of impact on the world in which our character lives, however, let us allow some risks to be taken without great impact. For example, in the new Batman it is said that breaking one’s spine can be fixed without any medical help (a rope seems to be doing well enough), however, analysing this little detail would make the entire film unenjoyable, this we accept it as it is without giving it influential power. Romantic comedies are famous for playing innocently- the characters in films from this genre seem to be living in a perfect world where the biggest life problems are related to casual sex and extremely cheesy relationships. Also, because of its typically PG or 12A content, romantic comedies do not take risky plot developments, controversial topics and racist jokes on board. So, naturally by screaming ROM-COM with its elderly lungs, Hope Springs promises to play it safe, which is fine with me unless it doesn’t.
Remember how it was in the beginning? Challenging stories, confident heroines and powerful messages? Meryl Streep has just ceased to be the representative of them
No, it’s not about old people’s sex. It’s about being extremely chauvinistic.
Meryl Streep plays Kay, an attractive, optimistic and prudent woman of age. She married Arnold what seems to be ages ago and although they have managed to survive all those years under the same roof giving life to the new generation, somehow on their way, they lost romantic interest in each other. Or shall I say, Arnold lost interest in Kay. This is all very fine, because it is no mystery that relationships tend to grow into compromising friendships and the first sighs of passion often turn into sighs of boredom and irritation, however, the typical rom-com couple will definitely figure it out. Or shall I say, Kay will.
Being extremely closed to the topics of sexuality and yet desiring to feel desired again, Kay attempts to bring the old romance back to her monotonous relationship. Soon she discovers that the guy she married is more interested in golf programs than having any sort of physical contact with her, which leads her to Hope Springs- the place where passion can be brought back by Steve Carell,
who no matter how hard tries to be liked, will always be hated by the audience
Arnold doesn’t see the problem. He thinks his wife went crazy and refuses to get involved in any counseling meetings. Kay insists offering herself practically on the plate, yet Arnold is still not persuaded. And here the chauvinistic part begins.
Kay wants to save her marriage, however:
a) She lives with a man who doesn’t even care to understand her. He doesn’t touch her, doesn’t appreciate anything she does for him and responds to everything with everlasting moaning. I promise you, if you thought women can be moany, check out Tommy Lee Jones acting like a little bitch, complaining about everything. And I mean EVERYTHING.
b) After talking to Arnold uncountable number of times, Kay decides to still keep talking to him and spending money on rubbish self-help guides that suppose to bring the magic back to their bedroom
c) Have I mentioned Kay was prudent? She reveals that she hasn’t fantasised about anyone ever, and that her only true love is Arnold. When he answers by sharing his fantasy about threesome with a neighbour he actually names, Kay makes Meryl Streep’s big eyes and even manages to make a joke out of it at the end of the movie.
d) Although Kay feels extremely uncomfortable about sex in general, having no imagination, no experience and extremely low self-esteem, she decides to leave her own comfort zone behind to take part in Arnold’s fantasies (no, not the threesome one) only to feel humiliated once again. Of course, she learns nothing from the experience.
e) She accepts literally everything Arnold does, even when she finds herself completely depressed, lonely and humiliated.
f) But she still serves Arnold breakfast.
I’m not a feminist, but putting up with a guy like Arnold is simply not acceptable, but fulfilling his sexual fantasies when he openly doesn’t give a crap is breaking the Innocent barrier and making story decision so guilty, it is disgusting.Shame on you, movie! Shame on you!
on your knees, woman!
The acting is really good in Hope Springs and both Kay and Arnold are believable characters, however, thanks to the appearance of Steve Carrell and the awfully disturbing script, Hope Springs lose all the charm it could possible have. I hate Kay for her passiveness and I hate Arnold for his indifference. I hate Steve Carrell just because and I hate the sexual deprivation all three of them go through so they can discover that all we need is love. Having no story at all, Hope Springs tries to resurrect its lost grace with surprisingly optimistic ending, however, coming from literally nowhere, it just makes everything ten thousand times worse than it actually is…
…So because of all this, It makes you feel dirty…
Hope Spring is an offensive and terribly written movie that suggests that traumas and relationship problems can be cured with
Tommy Lee Jones’ magic wand. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are wonderful as always, yet being put in this pointless dirt, they unsurprisingly fail to save the unfixable. If you want a simple, innocent, charming and forgettable rom-com, stay away from Hope Springs. It surely is a feel-bad movie of the year.