Saturday, August 11, 2012

When You're Old And In Love (Film Review: Hope Springs)

Imagine this: a rom-com for the 60s set, not the decade but the age. That's what exactly "Hope Springs" tries hard to be, and he mostly succeeds. It's a crowd pleaser, and the audience in my afternoon matinee was lapping up the film. I bet most of the people who went to see it saw it because of Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, and they star performances that carry the movie from the first frame. Streep is her usual reliable self, but for me, some of her tics and mannerisms seem more mannered than usual. But don't get me wrong: it is still an intuitive and honest master class performance. Jones has the more showy, nuanced, and ultimately better performance here: it is wonderful to see this normally badass actor be vulnerable: he is clumsy, charming, brave, an actor will full commitment to the character. (Steve Carrell plays the couple therapist so straightforward that I keep waiting for him to break loose at the end) I sometimes wish the languid pacing was a bit quicker, it seems at odds with the overall tone of the movie. And I think Frankel doesn't trust the nuanced, subtle performances of his actors: he scores the movie with a blatant musical soundtrack that's loud and penetrating it practically commands you how to feel, as if the audience isn't smart or intuitive enough. All in all, though, the movie is more a plus than a minus: a late summer treat for adults in need of a real relationship movie. It made me tear up in the end, as it made me wistful of something I probably will never have: a 31 year relationship.

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