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Hope Springs: Movie Review

Hannah Goodwyn


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Hope. It’s a wish or desire for something to happen. It’s what you hold onto when faith is too hard to come by. It’s also the underlying current of Hope Springs, Meryl Streep’s new movie with Tommy Lee Jones.

Hope Springs examines the marriage – or lack thereof – between middle-aged Kay, the desperately lonely wife, and Arnold, her despondent husband. The message is clear and strong, calling audiences to commit fully and again to their spouse. The film’s ideas about how reconciliation can happen are a bit off kilter.

Rated PG-13, Hope Springs is filled with awkward sexual situations, innuendos and suggestive themes. It’s not a movie you’d want to see with your family.


The fact that they’ve been married for 31 years is enough for Arnold, but his wife Kay realizes she wants more from the marriage than just living in the same house. Routine has eaten away at their relationship and Kay’s determined to find the answer. Her search leads her to book a week of intensive marriage counseling, a development Arnold is none too eager about. Reluctant, they go together, taking the first step toward a better marriage. Sadly, there are many steps to go after that and the real challenges start to come into play, demanding a real commitment from stubborn Arnold – a commitment he’s not ready to handle.  


Oscar winner Meryl Streep and co-star Tommy Lee Jones literally carry this movie and they do that so well, along with the help of Steve Carrell, who plays their characters’ marriage counselor. The angst and emotion of a struggling middle-aged couple is portrayed on screen effortlessly. The script and their portrayals of wounded Kay and obstinate Arnold engage you as you watch this marriage falter.

Hope Springs is an argument for marriage, for giving it a chance and for not giving up on your relationship – even when times get rough. It’s so easy these days to give up and get a divorce. This movie challenges audiences to hold in there, to get help. On the surface level, the film’s ideas, including some of the sexual suggestions, aren’t what make a marriage last. Looking deeper into Kay and Arnold’s story, you see that love is a choice, a commitment, something that needs work. A wife is to be praised, told she is beautiful and cherished. A husband needs to feel like he’s the one, pleasing to his wife. On these levels, Hope Springs gets it right.


Hope Springs is a funny and heartwarming movie that makes a strong case for fighting for your marriage. Still, the sexual content, including scenes of self-pleasure and oral sex, is hard to ignore. The extremely mature themes in this film may be too offensive for even some adults. Caution is advised.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's