You know how it’s going to go. I know how it’s going to go. We all know how it's going to go. Streep and Jones, however, admirably play their parts in such a way to make it appear as if they do not know how it's going to go. Kay is unable to communicate just how she feels or how she wants her marriage to improve, even if Streep conveys that Kay clearly does not feel right and clearly wants her marriage to improve. Arnold cannot communicate at all and does not want to communicate at all and makes even the smallest acts of communication come across like pulling teeth. Best of all, though, in spite of how foregone the conclusion might be, the screenplay refuses to manufacture asinine roadblocks on the road to the conclusion. It allows the characters work their issues out on their own.
However, none of that is what I would like to discuss in regards to “Hope Springs.” No, the most crucial issue at its conventional core is Elisabeth Shue.
You remember Elisabeth Shue. Twenty-five years ago she burst onto the scene as the most heroic babysitter of all time. Seven years later she earned an Oscar nomination (in my estimation she should have won) for her gut-wrenching work in “Leaving Las Vegas.” Slowly, however, her star has faded and in “Hope Springs” she turns up as a local bartender who serves Streep a bit of white wine. A ha!, I thought, Shue is playing the part of The Helpful Bartender, dispensing wisdom to Streep and then, probably later, Jones and maybe even being allowed to romance Carrell’s Dr. Field in a subplot. Excitement filled the air!
|That woman? That woman whose face you can't see? That's Elisabeth Shue, Oscar nominee.|
“Hope Springs” revolves around a woman who has been marginalized in her own marriage. Tragically, “Hope Springs” does the exact same thing to Elisabeth Shue.