Finally had time to see a movie and chose “Hope Springs,” the Meryl Streep-Tommy Lee Jones film I thought was a romantic comedy. It turned out to be a serious film about sex between older adults. Moments of hilarity dotted a slow, serious look at a couple who, after three decades of marriage, aren’t really married anymore. They, instead, are marching toward death in a routine that is so heartbreakingly predictable that it is hard to watch.
Meryl Streep, who buries herself in every role, is nearly perfect. And Tommy Lee Jones gets a chance to do something besides chase aliens, fugitives and bad guys. He’s a real guy, who felt he gave up the sexual freedom and adventure he might have had for the woman he loved. His performance would be a revelation, if it wasn’t someone that you expect that good from all the time.
The title is both the name of the town where the couple goes for sexual counseling and the idiom for hope in the face of hopelessness from Alexander Pope’s “An Essay on Man:”Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never Is, but always To be blest: The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
In the end, both find what they need. And it was sweet to walk out of the theatre with a lot of older couples holding hands and possibly going home to rediscover themselves as well.
Hope does, indeed, spring eternal.