A very busy week for our two movie critics Covo & Ayotte starts with “Hope Springs” (reviewed here by Covo) which opens today, and finishes up with national releases of at least three potential blockbusters. In our special weekend edition of At the movies, read about Will Ferrell’s “The Campaign” (reviewed by Ayotte), the highly anticipated “Bourne Legacy” and the fantasy film “Ruby Sparks” so you can decide which movies are worth your time and money as summer draws to a close.
San Antonio.- A very busy week for our two movie critics Covo & Ayotte starts with “Hope Springs” (reviewed here by Covo) which opens today, and finishes up with national releases of at least three potential blockbusters. In our special weekend edition of At the movies, read about Will Ferrell’s “The Campaign” (reviewed by Ayotte), the highly anticipated “Bourne Legacy” and the fantasy film “Ruby Sparks” so you can decide which movies are worth your time and money as summer draws to a close.
By Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr.
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THE NEW COVO & AYOTTE GUIDE:
- INSTANT CLASSIC! FIVE STARS
- DON'T MISS! FOUR STARS
- DON'T WAIT! THREE STARS
- DON'T RUSH! TWO STARS
- DON'T BOTHER! ONE STAR
Covo’s take: “Hope Springs” FOUR STARS
“Hope Springs” is rated PG-13, but this terrific film that gingerly handles sex issues in a long established relationship is not for kids – at all.
Billed as a comedy, the movie is punctuated with perfectly paced comic relief, but could just as easily be classified as a drama that examines the foibles of a long-standing, comfortable relationship where two people mask their frustrations with routine.
Impeccable performances by Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carrell complete this magnificent movie about Baby Boomers dealing with very basic, very personal issues.
The comic relief is just the right prescription: it gives the audience just a little space to deal with the sometimes necessarily uncomfortable moments the characters (and the audience) are living through.
In this film, Tommy Lee Jones plays the husband, Arnold Soames, an acerbic bean counter from Omaha -- and the funny man to Steve Carrell’s Dr. Bernard “Bernie” Feld, a marriage therapist who has some witty lines but ultimately plays the straight man, not the comedian. Carrel manages to create a likable therapist, a character who is at once kind and wise, tough but understanding … and ultimately helpful.
And Jones is Arnold Soames, and his demeanor as Soames is perfect and perfectly hilarious, from the brilliant and oh-so-believable one-liners to the nuanced expressions, Jones has the audience in stitches at all the right moments.
Meryl Streep as the sweet Kay Soames, the wife, is waking up to the fact that things could and should be better in the bedroom and finally finds the courage to admit they have a lackluster (actually nonexistent) sex life. Her awakening is the central reason the two find themselves in Bernie’s professional care … in Maine.
Tastefully done, the characters get to the core of the problems they are living through in a way that reflects the human condition – so much so that much of the audience can identify and relate. The film is about much more than sex – it covers the gamut – from fear of rejection to fear of failure to how quickly we are willing to fall into and get stuck in a rut rather than to face uncomfortable issues head on.
And the pair are authentic – real in every way.
Writer Vanessa Taylor who recently worked on “Game of Thrones” does a fabulous job of unveiling the issues and the characters layer by layer and taking the audience along for the ride.
This film may not be appreciated by everyone, but it is an outstanding portrayal of a slice of life we rarely consider, of what can happen in even good long-standing relationships, and yes, about sex. Warning: this film is not in 3D, has no special effects or even gratuitous nudity – and the main characters can be described as a (gasp) conventional couple. A great movie for all adults, not just Baby Boomers, and certainly worth your time and money.
“Hope Springs” opens nationwide August 8. The movie is rated PG-13 and runs about an hour and 40 minutes.