Hope Springs (2012)

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Released 21-Dec-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Outtakes-Gag Reel (4:52)
Outtakes-Exploring the Scene: Alternate Takes (16:53)
Trailer-Trailers for LOL, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 95:46
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (48:15) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Frankel
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Meryl Streep
Tommy Lee Jones
Steve Carell
Jean Smart
Ben Rappaport
Marin Ireland
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $19.95 Music Theodore Shapiro


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Credits begin after two and a half minutes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Hope Springs stars Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep and was marketed theatrically as a romantic comedy. When you start watching this and find out that Jones and Streep play characters in a dull marriage who sleep in separate rooms and lack intimacy, you may start to wonder what is going on!

     Meryl Streep has matured as an actress, especially shining in serious roles for which she has garnered academy award nominations and wins. She can alternate between playing Margaret Thatcher, in The Iron Lady and fun-loving Donna in Mamma Mia!. She is our generation's answer to Bette Davis or Katherine Hepburn, she rarely plays the same role twice it seems. Tommy Lee Jones, on the other hand, specialises playing wise-crack grumpy prudes, and he makes no exception in playing Arnold in Hope Springs this way. One can only imagine what this film would have been like if Jeff Bridges had accepted the main role.

     As mentioned, Hope Springs was marketed as a romantic comedy, with lots of one-liners in ads, but basically the film becomes quite serious quickly, especially early-on when Kay (Meryl Streep) books a week in Maine to go to specialist marriage counselling sessions. So, even though the film was pitched as a mature adult feel-good comedy, the reality is Hope Springs will quickly have you comparing your own life situation to the characters here who have a 31-year marriage that is going nowhere.

     They say familiarity breeds contempt and Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones), after 31 years are going through the motions here, sleeping in separate bedrooms, having discussions that are purely functional and enjoying no love-making or intimacy. Kay tries to reach out to Arnold but he rejects her attempts to connect beyond what they usually do on a banal level, so Kay decides to visit psychologist Dr. Bernie Feld (Steve Carell), who specialises in marriage counselling in the village of Great Hope Springs, Maine. Arnold is adamant that he won't go, but relents when he sees how determined Kay is to go through with the visit. Thus, we begin the journey to how Kay and Arnold painfully learn to re-connect and start over again.

     Screenwriter Vanessa Taylor (Games of Thrones) doesn't hold back in depicting a couple who are no longer sharing a life together. While there are some funny scenes such as Arnold falling asleep watching golf programs or Kay purchasing a guide to sex book at a bookstore, there is a constant fine line in the moments that make you sympathise with Kay and Arnold's dilemma or perhaps make you cringe, it seems that you'll find yourself in one of these two views, in my opinion, throughout the film.

     It's too easy, however, to find that Hope Springs is not believable if you are in a relationship which is intimate. If, however, you have come to a point, after a long time, where you feel you can't get things back to where they once were, then Hope Springs will appeal to your experiences.

     If you are young, then this film is a message about the potential pitfalls of marriage, whereas mature viewers will more likely reflect upon how they can pay more attention to the little things in their relationships which slowly make partners distant. Hope Springs is a journey which you probably won't enjoy and, in the end, you'll either accept it for what it is, or reject as not for you, there's no in-between.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Hope Springs was shot using the Arri Alexa digital camera, yet it maintains a warm and detailed film-like quality to it.

     The aspect ratio is 2:40:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

     The film comes on a 6.47 gb dual-layered DVD with an average bitrate of 7.46 m/b per sec, which is above average for DVD.

     Colours are realistic-looking, with the contrast turned up a notch in the therapy scenes.

     There are no film artefacts or transfer issues.

     Subtitles are available in English.

     The RSDL change occurs at 48:15, during a scene transition, so it is not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     This is a dialogue-driven film with a surround mix which is aimed at not bringing attention to itself.

     The main audio track is a Dolby Digital English 5.1 track encoded at 448 kbps. A secondary audio track mirrors the main audio track in English, encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo at 224 kbps. A Descriptive Audio track is available in English for the hard of hearing in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo also, similarly encoded at 224 kbps.

     Dialogue is clear and synchronised.

     Theodore Shapiro's musical score is very much in the background as a result of the surround mix, which emphasises dialogue throughout.

     Ambient effects are mixed among the front three speakers in general.

     The subwoofer provides support for the soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Gag Reel (4:52)

     Plenty of goofs and laughs here as the cast are shown making mistakes during shooting.

Exploring the Scene: Alternate Takes (16:53)

     Director David Frankel provides a short introduction where he explains his difficulty in editing the film after shooting scenes with consistently fine, nuanced performances from Streep and Jones. Here he shows four scenes with alternate takes played one after the other. The first three scenes are included in the movie; Motel Speech, Marital Gripes and First Time You Said It while the final scene, Feld's Second Wife was deleted. This final scene where Dr. Feld is having an argument with his second wife at a petrol station shows how even the experts have to work at their relationships and, with Kay looking on, shows how Kay is a sympathetic and understanding soul. This deleted scene would have made an interesting reflection upon a character in the film besides Kay and Arnold, but ultimately I can understand why it was left out, as Kay and Arnold are the only-developed characters in the movie, all other characters merely serve to prompt and progress Kay and Arnold's situation.

Start-up Trailers

     Start-up trailers for LOL (2:12), and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2:21) play before the main menu screen.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   The Region 1 United States DVD includes an audio commentary by director David Frankel and a 4-minute feature where Streep and Jones discuss their characters and their working relationship on set, as well the extras included on the Region 4 Australian DVD release.

Summary

     Streep and Jones dominate this film so much that apart from the final scene on the beach, I would imagine that Steve Carell shot all his scenes in one afternoon as he is always shown sitting on the same side of the couch in his office. Support actors such as Elisabeth Shue and Mimi Rogers don't figure in this all, you don't even get a look-in at who the children are, and you wouldn't recognise the actors who play them.

     Steve Carell playing a straight role is not the same as Robin Williams doing the same thing and Tommy Lee Jones is miscast in this; only Meryl Streep performs as expected here. Hope Springs will leave you empathetic with the main characters, or it will leave you indifferent, for me there's no in-between.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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