Now on DVD

Hope Springs a gentle reminder

lars logoYEP – It’s no news flash that marriage is difficult.

The divorce rate seems to escalate each year, becoming an all-too familiar statistic used by the next generation as a valid argument to avoid the institution all together.

But just as any good parent would say to a child, “Just because something is difficult does not mean you stop trying;” so, also, would apply the axiom: “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”

Hope Springs stars a pair of heavy weight fighters – Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. After 31 years of marriage, Kay and Arnold  have run into a brick wall. All routine, no intimacy.

Again, no news flash.

thHowever, this is an important film, if only for those of us who have been in a long marriage – or committed relationship – and need to be reminded that anything worth doing is worth doing well.

At Kay’s insistence, the couple goes to a week-long therapy sesh to sit with Dr. Feld (Steve Carell), a marriage counselor with a track record for success.

After a couple of predictable resistance sessions, the two begin to make real progress. But Rome was not built in a day (i.e. oral sex in a movie theatre can’t solve everything).

As the formula requires, Kay and Arnold then hit a new wall, and just as they are both on the verge of maybe walking away (her bags are even packed!), Dr. Feld lays it out for the defiant and stubborn husband.

“Couples come to me for two reasons: to help them save their marriage…or to help them end it.”

He continues.

“Your wife is very unhappy. I’m not saying she’s going to leave you, but the moment is here. You need to ask yourself ‘Have I done all I could?'”

Then…

“Is this the best you could do?”

Tough love.

Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones give brave and honest performances in Hope Springs. These two actors are so good, so familiar to us, that the film can skip a lot of the unnecessary back story elements or conflict contrivances other films would feel compelled to layer in. We get it. Their marriage has run out of gas. The romance has faded away. They’re getting old. So now what?

Marriage is difficult.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

You know how people will tell you “don’t leave before the credits roll,” and usually it means you will be subjected to low brow hijinks (ala The Hangover) or goofy blooper/outtakes (ala Rush Hour or most Eddie Murphy movies). Well, stick around for these and you’ll be treated to a sweet montage of matrimonial moments set to Van Morrison’s “Bright Side of the Road.”

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