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Hope Springs


Stars: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell, Jean Smart, Elisabeth Shue, Mimi Rogers

Director: David Frankel

A highly unlikely romcom this, but beautifully performed, especially by Streep, an actress who just gets better and better by the year, and here showing all of her subtleties as a wife whose curmudgeon husband (Jones) has long since lost interest in sex.

Using her own money, she enrols them in a centre for 'intensive counselling' run by Dr Bernie (Carell), who tries to get them back together step by step, although Streep - and we - find oral sex in a cinema a step too far.

Through perceptive acting, this manages to suspend our disbelief for three-quarters of the runtime, before things succumb to conventional Hollywood resolutions towards the end. Streep and Jones gamely pretend to be 50somethings, but it's tough since both in real life are well the wrong side of 60. And, because Streep is still bewitchingly attractive, it's easier to accept Jones' rather sudden revival of romantic interest in her as the 'therapy' progresses, than if she were plump and plain.

Carell, as indeed are the rest of the cast, is rather lost in the shuffle.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Momentum (Columbia/MGM). Colour by deluxe.
100 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 11 Sep 2012