I never thought that Tommy Lee Jones could produce a smile, let alone have romantic chemistry with any actress on screen. The mature and talented actor is known for his stoic roles in films like “No Country For Old Men,” the “Men in Black” trilogy, and “The Fugitive.” I couldn’t have been more blown away by his performance across from Meryl Streep in David Frankel’s “Hope Springs.”
Kay (Streep) and Arnold (Jones) have been married 31 years and live in Nebraska. Their kids are fully grown, out of the house and the two struggle to maintain that spark they had when they first met. After sleeping in separate bedrooms and living in their own worlds for what seems like way too long, Kay comes across a “marriage help” book written by psychologist Dr. Feld (a perfectly subtle Steve Carell). After reading the book, she’s convinced that Dr. Feld is the answer to helping her marriage.
One morning during their usual coffee, eggs and bacon breakfast, Kay tells Arnold she wants to go to an intensive couples’ retreat run by Dr. Feld in Great Hope Springs, Maine. She’s already bought the plane tickets and booked a week’s stay at the Econo Lodge, telling Arnold she will be on the plane tomorrow morning, even if he won’t be.
As Kay is waiting for Arnold on the plane, he finally shows up, sits down in his seat and in full TLJ fashion says, “I hope you’re happy.” Kay smiles and the two fly off to small-town Maine.
Vanessa Taylor’s (“Game of Thrones”) script could have come across as a Lifetime movie geared for older couples, but they way Jones and Streep take on these characters is brilliant. Streep, who I’m convinced can take on any role, perfectly balances the uncertainty and sincerity of a woman who wants so much more from her husband. Jones takes Arnold to a place we’re not used to seeing the actor at, as he forms a gentle and romantic relationship with his wife near the end of the film.
Whoever says this movie will not appear to twenty-somethings is just wrong. My boyfriend and I loved the movie and were emotionally engaged throughout the couple’s entire journey.
Jones and Streep have amazing chemistry and the story is so endearing, it will make you want to go home and hug your significant other a little bit longer than you usually would.