[Last Film I Saw] Hope Springs (2012)

Title: Hope Springs
Year: 2012
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama
Director: David Frankel
Writer: Vanessa Taylor
Cast:
Meryl Streep
Tommy Lee Jones
Steve Carell
Jean Smart
Elisabeth Shue
Mimi Rogers
Ben Rappaport
Marin Ireland
Brett Rice
Rating: 6.4/10

After her hard-earned third Oscar statuette earlier this year from THE IRON LADY (2011), Meryl Streep keeps her momentum on and this summer, she is back with a more earthly contemporary comedy looking into the sex life between an elder couple, after marrying for over 30 years, their lethargic and stereotyped life has hemmed themselves into a dead water, so it all starts when the wife initiates to break the status quo and resorts to a marriage counselling to “re-experience the marriage” and rekindle their dormant passion.

I watched this film in the local cinema, the film is surprisingly small-scaled (compared with my pre-conceived reference IT’S COMPLICATED 2009), and the entire story could barely make the ends meet for one episode of WEB THERAPY (Meryl has a hilarious guest appearance in this year’s second season), but instead, it has been expanded into a feature-length film by director David Frankel (THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA 2006), although the bomblets of awkward reactions towards the blatant sex-centred questions are copious to squeeze decent quantity of laughters, the film actually is treading lightly on an inconvenient and sensitive issue about the sex life for the senior demography, and apart from two-leads’ high degree of professional proficiency, the film offers nothing new to the thematic conundrum (something as corny as remember the past mating time, arrange a fancy restaurant dating with the deluxe room for a romantic night, fulfil your secret sex fantasy, etc. An underused Steve Carell surely has an easy job in this case).

Meryl Streep shoves off her magnificent mimicry and grandeur to portray a real-life woman, an epitomised “discontent married wife” who have a more sensitive edge than her obstinate husband and is unsatisfied to lose her only chance to live fully at the age of 60, so sexual desires must be re-instigated (on this account the pressure is on the husband’s shoulder, as from the very first scene, the wife is the one who is fully aware of the problem and dares to make the first move. As great as Meryl, her excellence is again could immune to any panning about her portrayal (each and every line and posture is a testimony of precision), although at the present, the film itself may bar her from getting a nomination from next year’s Oscar nomination, since academy often snubs her for more mundane roles like this. Tommy Lee Jones, nonetheless, is the one who utterly blows my mind and naturalistically being induced out of his tough reserves and guarantees a transcending performance from an irascible old man to a tender husband. His suited-up courting with Meryl in the hotel room has the heart-melting moment although the implicit sex scenes are really not such a pleasure to behold, after Meryl, maybe next inevitable choice is to see Dame Judi Dench in her embodiment of a sex-wanting octogenarian!

Last words: as the film has pertinently pointed out (by Elisabeth Shue’s amenable bartender), sex should never be overstated out of its biological range, the world is full of other orgasm-intrigued experiences which suit to adulthood.

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