Now and then a film comes around that I know is great, but at the same time I don't necessarily enjoy myself when watching it. Good examples are recent best picture winners The King's Speech (2010) and The Artist (2011) -- I realize that they are good pieces of film making, but they don't appeal to me as a critic. Such is the case with Hope Springs, starring Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones.
The story is solidly told. Involving an elderly married couple who've become distant over the years and decide to go to intense couples therapy, it flows nicely enough that the 2 hour running time doesn't feel that long. The writing is sharp and witty, taking mundane conversations and turning them on their head by the end of each scene. Streep and Jones are both fantastic, and they adequately embody what their characters are: basically, spouses turned roommates. The scenes with them taking part in counseling sections are hands down the best parts of the film, mostly because they play off of one another so nicely.
That being said, I still couldn't really enjoy the film. I can say with confidence that the target audience for the film is people/married couples over forty, or at least people that have been in a relationship for awhile. It's possible that I'm just too young to get anything out of it, but to me the topic-related humor and attempts at heartfelt moments fell flat. Rest assured, I realize that I am very much in the minority with my opinion. So for this reason, I've decided to give the film TWO ratings: the rating that I feel it deserves, and the rating that I would give as my honest opinion.
I think that to it's target audience, Hope Springs would receive an 8/10.
In my critical opinion, I give Hope Springs a 6.5/10.