For me, anything with Meryl Streep on it is worth a watch and in Hope Springs, Streep once again proves why she is the goddess of cinema. David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) reunites with Streep in a comedy of marital blues and mature relationships. That itself ought to earn some brownie points because let's face it, how many movies have come out of Hollywood about sexagenarian love?
Streep plays Kay Soames, a lonely, 60-something housewife who finally realises that sexiness doesn't come with an expiry date. Kay is happily married to Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones, another powerhouse) and they are in a loving and devoted relationship. But Kay knows that while love may drive our world round it is lust which is in the driver's seat.
Kay wistfully comprehends that her 30-year-old marriage needs some spice. She cooks and cleans for him while he spends time watching the Golf Channel, sleeping in a separate bedroom and true to his account job, complaining about the pennies.
Kay takes a leaf from her self-help books and plans for a trip to Maine for a week of "intensive" couple-counselling with marriage expert Dr Feld (Steve Carell). Surprisingly, Kay opens up to Dr Feld and talks with just a tiny bit of hesitation about masturbation, orgasms and blowjobs much to the chagrin of Arnold. But when coaxed and pressurised he confesses to his topmost fantasy—"Under the table. At work. At tax time!"
Streep's Kay is touching and trying. Her body-language is top notch; she fiddles with her clothes and tries out a "come-hither" look. She's also touching as a woman who is used to not just underwhelming sex but an underwhelming life; that she finds herself faking most of the said happiness. But despite the weight of everything she refuses to let age become an excuse for a loss of passion. As for Arnold, he has rough-edged agility to him and he is not an alpha male but an endearing husband. Carell as the straight laced doctor is funny yet understanding.
The film has many witty lines. But amidst the guffaws is a poignant study of mature relationships. It flirts dangerously with bleakness but never gives in to its clutches. The result— a heartwarming tale of love and life. And when you have two master class performers coming together, it really cannot go that wrong.