I'm impressed by how well Hope Springs portrays intimacy. Kay and Arnold still want each other, but they no longer know how to communicate their needs. And it's all very tastefully done. Kay and Arnold are obviously uncomfortable discussing their problems with a stranger. Okay, the sex scenes are ridiculously clothed, but they're well shot and illuminate the progression of the relationship.
Did I mention that Hope Springs is hysterical? Streep and Jones have great chemistry and the perfect expressions to sell every joke. Carell is extremely restrained as their therapist and proves to be the perfect straight man. His absence of energy is practically a joke in itself. Not every comedian could rein themselves in for such an understated performance. (Although I don't think I need to tell you that Streep is the standout, from her girlish voice to the trembles of her face as her husband unintentionally hurts her feelings.)
|Steve Carell as Dr. Feld|
My only complaint would be the soundtrack. There was nothing awful about the songs themselves, but I never thought they quite worked with the action onscreen. Maybe my theater had the balance off, but each song just seemed too loud and took me away from the scene instead of pulling me deeper into it. I liked the music in director David Frankel's previous effort The Devil Wears Prada, so I'm not sure what was up with this one.
I definitely recommend Hope Springs. It's rare to find a comedy the mature and honest. It was slightly awkward to see with my mother, but not that bad since all the sexual content wasn't tawdry but about expressing your needs and being able to find comfort with another person. It's a good message.