Pin It
favorite

The Long Marriage 

Streep and Jones capture midlife ennui in 'Hope Springs'

There's one fault a woman will never forgive in a man, and that's miserliness. Tommy Lee Jones' Arnold in Hope Springs is a tightfisted Omaha accountant. Arnold withholds even the best free thing in life. Thus, his wife of 31 years (the last five have been sexless) drags him to a couples' retreat out in coastal Maine to work on their marriage under the guidance of a shrink, played with admirable colorlessness by Steve Carell.

The audience that made Midnight in Paris a hit will want to come out and see the results. Streep's thespian heft ensures this isn't dry Neil Simon fare; it's more of a drama-comedy than a comedy-drama.

Of course, any actress so often called the greatest actress alive will have some ham in her. She's overdrabbed in Costco eyeglasses and a $25 haircut. Streep faces a part that demands getting alarmingly physical, and she handles that fine. But she also throws herself at the mercy of the audience in a few moments of low comedy: fondling a salami at the supermarket, and oohing at that old burlesque fave, the ejaculating Champagne bottle.

And yet this movie is a winner. Jones' bottled-in older man verges on bastardry that would credit a Nicholas Ray movie, and his crumbliness end-runs the usual equation of "woman's picture=man's fault." His performance here is a credit to the amount of hurt that goes on in a seemingly long and tranquil marriage. Arnold's side of the picture is painted in full, either in resentment of the aggravatingly calm shrink or of his wife ("All those goddamn years," he swears).

Those behind the scenes have come through as well. Scriptwriter Vanessa Taylor is a longtime TV writer, but flatness only seems apparent on the peripheral characters here, including a squandered Elisabeth Shue. Director David Frankel (also loads of TV, plus Marley and Me and The Devil Wears Prada) once again takes the mayonnaise out of domestic comedy.

'Hope Springs' opens Wednesday, Aug. 8, in wide release.

  • Streep and Jones capture midlife ennui in 'Hope Springs'

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Movies

  • Behind the Feathers

    'I Am Big Bird' celebrates the man in the yellow suit
    • May 20, 2015
  • The Hardy Boys

    It's ye olde battle of the sexes in Vinterberg's 'Madding Crowd'
    • May 13, 2015
  • No Holiday

    New doc explores the day the music died in Cambodia Charlie Swanson
    • May 6, 2015
  • More »

More by Richard von Busack

  • The Hardy Boys

    It's ye olde battle of the sexes in Vinterberg's 'Madding Crowd'
    • May 13, 2015
  • I, Robot

    'Ex Machina' examines the line between human and machine
    • Apr 29, 2015
  • More »

Find It

Submit an event

Boho Beat

May 22: A Very Good Year in El Verano

May 22: T.G.I.Funky in Kenwood

May 23: New Brews in Petaluma

More »

Facebook Activity

Most Commented

  • Pretty Theft

    'Fingersmith' debuts at Oregon Shakespeare Fest
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Banjos & Brushes

    Art and music come together with old-fashioned flair
    • Feb 25, 2015
  • More »

Twitter

Read more @nbaybohemian

Copyright © 2015 Metro Newspapers. All rights reserved.

Website powered by Foundation