Hope Springs: Beware this RomCom’s NOT for Children!

So, Hope Springs…where to start?  With Meryl Streep trying to sensually massage Tommy Lee Jones’ very wrinkled body?  Nope, nope – too early for that imagery!  Meryl gettin’ down with her bad self?  Eating a banana while reading Sex Tips for a Straight Woman from a Gay Man?

Wait, wait, why are you running away?!  I’m not done with my review!

Ok, I fully admit it was my idea to review Hope Springs for the Redhots.  Had I known what I was getting myself into, I would have let well enough alone!  I swear!  There are things people my age aren’t supposed to know!  Things we shouldn’t know!  Because if we knew them, we might never have sex again, never get married, never have children, and then mosquitos would take over the planet!

I thought it would be a light hearted film about love.  The preview made it so inviting!

The first mistake I made was taking my best friend, Cat, with me to see the movie.  Cat recently got married this past August.  She’s still in honeymoon bliss.  Wanting to spend more time with her husband…probably cleaning the house…I assume.  I’m not married, I’m not sure what those people do.

What I hope they don’t do, is turn into Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in the film Hope Springs!  Ack, people!  I have to develop a new rating system just to efficiently describe this marriage movie monstrosity!  We’ll be dissecting the film under the following categories:

  • Hope Floats, But Your Sex Don’t Spring
  • The Ick Factor
  • All I Truly Love are the Costumes
  • Was There A Happy Ending, I’m Still in Shock from the Close up of Tommy Lee’s Lips?

Ok, to get started, Hope Floats, But Your Sex Don’t Spring!  

The premise for this movie is a couple that goes to intensive counseling after 30+ years of marriage has turned them into roommates rather than life partners.  Sleeping in separate beds, Kay and Arnold (Streep and Jones), have lost their lust, I mean love, for one another.

What follows is an all too real picture of what could be the future.  Hope Springs had the potential to cover any number of marital concerns and obstacles, but at its heart, it focuses on sex.  Meaning Kay and Arnold aren’t having any.

Further discussion of their lack of sex, in fact any physical contact in some time, leads me to:

The Ick Factor

I know this film is probably giving hope to couples all over that it’s not too late to spice up their sex lives, and I’m all for it, I really, truly am!  But I just don’t want to see it!

Number one on the Ick Factor list is Tommy Lee Jones’ lips, or lack thereof!  His face wrinkles just sort of melt into where his teeth are.

Then there’s the awkward touching.  Picture Meryl Streep’s hands pat pat patting Tommy Lee’s upper thighs, then staring at his aroused face.  *kech*   I just threw up a little.

You don’t want to know what “went down” in the movie theater, but I actually felt pity for Kay after watching that scene!

And this was all made the more awkward because Cat would not stop snickering very audibly next to me in a theater full of older couples and us.

(image courtesy Mrs. Inman – Popping In and Out, Creative Commons)

All I Truly Love Are the Costumes

The saving grace of this film was the realistic costuming they gave the characters.  Kay works at Coldwater Creek, and she is definitely in floral blouses and matching sets throughout the film.  And I liked the subtle detail of having her wear the same necklace, different ways, while she was traveling.

Was There a Happy Ending, I’m Still in Shock from the Close up of Tommy Lee’s Lips?

I don’t think I’m being a terrible spoiler when I tell you that Kay and Arnold get their groove back.  Even though I was happy for them, it was, and remains to be, hard to shake the frightening images I was forced to face.

I mean, frozen in my theater chair, so disturbed I couldn’t look away AND I forgot to drink any of the wine I snuck in with my purse!  That’s fer realz, y’all!

Final Recommendation:

My newly married friend best summed up the movie as we washed our hands (because we couldn’t put soap in our eyes), that it might be a movie to watch periodically throughout one’s marriage.  To use it as a spectrum gage of “are we this couple and if so what the f*ck are we going to do about it?”

In the meantime, if you’re in a happily committed relationship, might I suggest the newest season of Dexter for date night?


Don’t take my word for it!  Check out Marcia’s opinion on what it’s really like to be married!  Hope her hubby has better lips than Tommy Lee!


26 responses

  1. Ah to be so young and innocent again. My middle-aged hubby and I are not suffering with this particular dilemma, but through some frank discussions with girlfriends, I know it is not uncommon. Give it a few decades and watch it on Netflix. You may see it from a new perspective.

    1. If I’m not completely disgusted my the outcome of marriage then. LOL Yikes!

  2. I agree with Jane, Jess! But I get it, I really do. My 24- year old son actually said something similar about throwing up a little (only he was gross about it) when he saw Hubs and I being affectionately playful. Hope Springs’ relationship issue really is common and, unfortunately, is a bit cliche’. Still a fun movie, though! Great review, Jess!

    1. There you went and did it again. Forced my brain to conjure up Tommy Lee’s lips. *shudder*

  3. Oh, this cracked me up, Jess. It’s so interesting to hear your perspective. I have not seen this movie; however, I’ve heard from other couples near my age that it’s a reasonably realistic portrayal of some marriages. The good news is that when your mate gets to that older age, you’re that older age too and so it’s not gross. 😉

    1. That’s why I must figure out how to hibernate NOW before it’s too late and I can wrap my boobs around me like a sleeping bag!!!

  4. My wife and I saw this movie a month ago in Maine. We were the only two people in the theater, so I assumed it was going to be terrible and would quickly disappear from our local theater. Well, it was terrible, but for some reason it’s still playing around here. I liked the premise a lot, but the non-stop focus on sex and the husband’s discomfort with it got boring very quickly. And the ending was so predictable, I could see it coming from the opening credits. I’m glad older people are still enjoying a healthy sex life, too, but as you said so well, “I just don’t want to see it!”

    1. Hey Charles! I would have rather been alone in the theater. Anytime one of the couples didn’t laugh I just worried they were in the same boat and I felt awful.

  5. Love Dexter. But alas, this is really common — and people have to work really hard at their marriages to make sue they don’t become roommates. Add kids into the equation and work, and I’ll tell you, it ain’t easy. Sadly, I’m pretty sure a lot of people will relate to the plight of Meryl & Tommy Lee.

    1. Yah, I think that’s the absolute truth. I’ve heard stories from several women who said friends of theirs found it too close to home. But like Marcia, I think it was presented a bit cliche’.

      I mean, I hardly think a fancy hotel or sex tips from a gay man will solve all your problems, but if it does…why doesn’t Bravo have a TV show for that???

  6. Ha! Totally original and entertaining review, Jess. I feel sorry for couples who struggle in the way you describe, too. I agree with Renee that many people will unfortunately relate. If I’d stuck with my pseudo-husband (long story!), I probably would have to work extremely hard to avoid such scenarios.

    Stories about depressing couples bum me out, so I’m not sure whether I’ll like this flick. I’m such a fan of Ms. Streep, that I’ll probably see it anyway.

    1. Me too! I wanted to see Meryl, and she is fantastic in this role. I identified with her a lot, actually. I have had moments in my life of extreme loneliness where the most minor of touches would cause me to cry later.

      I think it’s a kind of movie that watching periodically could be good for one’s relationship. But watching it too soon is as awkward as Meryl trying to go to Base 3 in a movie theater. *running for waste bucket*

  7. Since I didn’t find Tommy attractive in the first place, you’ve just about talked me out of this one. I thought it would be a comedy and I love it when Meryl Streep does those but bleck on the lips!!

    1. Well you would have been in for a doozy if I hadn’t warned you.

  8. Thank you for the review. I was going to have a girls day out with my daughter. Probably still will…but we WON’T be seeing this movie. Whew! That could have been uncomfortable. 🙂

    1. Yah I almost watched this with my mom too. I’m so glad we didn’t.

  9. I’d probably find this WAY too awkward to watch, like I’m invading their privacy. As for Tommy Lee Jones’ lips, I think that might be an age thing? I don’t know. I’m way too young to find him attractive, but maybe women closer to his age think he’s hot? I hope my husband still finds me attractive when I’m old and wrinkly is all I can say!

    1. Uh women find Sean Connery handsome! Maybe Tommy Lee should try frowing a beard and using a british accent. What say you?

  10. Thanks for the review Jess. I love Meryl, and I love Tommy Lee Jones the actor, but I’ve never thought he was handsome, ever. And I’ve been watching him in movies since the 1970’s. I never could quite figure out what all the hype was about Tommy Lee’s attraction. Now if we’re talking about Robert Redford, well that’s a different story. And worry not Jess and don’t be grossed out. I was young once and then one day I woke up and aged like twenty-five years. What the heck? How did this happen? Yet, my DH still tells me I’m beautiful. Personally I think he’s nuts. But he did have lasik surgery. Well, anyway, he and I have been married for almost 37 years and we are not sleeping in separate bedrooms. *wink* 🙂

    1. LOL. Lovely story, Karen! I’m so happy for you both!!!

  11. This is probably the most honest review I’ve ever read! And, really? You sneak wine into the movies? So you don’t just limit yourself to canteens and hiking trips? Good to know. I become more and more impressed with you every day!

    Dexter tonight. Woohoo!!!!

    1. I’m classy like that!

      Don’t tell me what happens on the new season of Dexter! I’ll have to wait till DVD. 😦 I know it’s going to be insanely awesome.

  12. […] up for Best Supporting Actress and Tommy Lee Jones for Best Supporting Actor (Those of you who read my review of Hope Springs may be shocked to know I’m actually rooting for him this […]

  13. I’M BAAAAACK! I just watched Hope Springs last night with my hubby…and I LOVED it! Although we both said at the end that this is not a movie for young couples, only middle-aged to elderly folks. First of all, I am so pleased to see another movie (there aren’t many) showing a woman who wants sex and a man who isn’t interested. That happens in many marriages, and the general thrust (no pun intended) in books, TV, and movies is that HE will do nearly anything for sex and SHE is the gatekeeper. Second, this is–like it or not–accurate for some marriages, though obviously not inevitable. Third, after your review, I was expecting to have to avert my eyes from flesh scenes with old people. Nope. Didn’t happen. Hey, I don’t really like seeing 20-somethings nude and grinding up against each other in movies. It didn’t bother me one bit to see the wife here massaging her husband’s pantsed thigh. Fourth, it really is odd how your expectations for good-looking can adjust. I see young hot guys, and I think they’re handsome…but it’s more like, “What a handsome kid.” LOL. On our DVD there was a movie preview for some film with a young gorgeous guy and Dennis Quaid, and I was thinking, “Look at those ripped abs” on the young guy, but then I immediately went to, “No, Dennis Quaid. Definitely Dennis Quaid.” Why? Because he’s more my age, I guess. Fifth, so well acted. And wasn’t Steve Carrell cool in his role?

    So after all of that, I’m actually going to agree with you, Jess. This is movie is not for young people, but older married people might find something here worth watching.

    1. LOL. Yah, I probably would watch it again when I was older, but it was much too soon for me to see it now. MUCH.

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