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Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 16 August 2012 05:29

"Hope Springs" – Here's how surprisingly effective this movie is: It will make you want to go home and have sex with your spouse afterward. Or at least share a longer hug or a more passionate kiss. You don't have to be married for 31 years like the stuck-in-a-rut couple Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones play to feel inspired by the film's message about the importance of keeping your relationship alive. It sounds like a cliche because it is a cliche, and more: It's a cottage industry, one that's launched countless afternoon talk-show episodes and shelf after shelf of self-help books. And yet, despite television ads that look alternately wacky and mawkish and suggest pat, glossy superficiality, "Hope Springs" unearths some quiet and often uncomfortable truths. The first produced script from television writer and producer Vanessa Taylor ("Alias," "Game of Thrones") explores the complicated dynamics that develop over a long-term relationship with great honesty and little judgment. What looks like a standard romcom turns into something akin to a contemporary Ingmar Bergman film. The performances from Streep and Jones go a long way toward elevating the rather straightforward direction from David Frankel, which includes some painfully literal musical selections and a few hokey comic situations. Their characters, Kay and Arnold, live a sexless life in a comfortable suburb of Omaha, Neb. When Kay finally decides she's sick of their complacent routine, she insists Arnold join her for a week of intensive couples therapy with a renowned psychologist (Steve Carell). In Maine. PG-13 for mature thematic content involving sexuality. 99 minutes. Three stars out of four.

Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

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Last Updated on Thursday, 16 August 2012 05:29
 




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