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Hope Springs (2012) Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), English Audio Descriptive Service Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 100 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: UltraViolet
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 11, 2012
  • List Price: $35.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

In director David Frankel’s Hope Springs (not to be confused with the 2003 rom-com of the same name starring Colin Firth)  Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones play middle-aged couple Kay and Arnold whose 31-year marriage has fallen into a rut. The two are basically living together in a sexless marriage like a couple of roommates. The necessary steps are taken by Kay to spice up their sex lives when she books the couple for “intensive couples therapy” with marriage counselor Dr. Feld (Steve Carell) in the quaint seaside town of Great Hope Springs in Maine.

Acting is top notch from Streep, Jones, and Carell, but it is the general screenplay and perfunctory direction from Frankel that makes Hope Springs no more than sugary rom-com material for the boomer generation. Frankel fails to do anything adventurous with his directing style, pitting Kay and Arnold against one another on opposite sides of the therapist’s sofa every chance he gets, rather than giving us a real emotional exploration as to how or why this long-married couple has ended up afraid to be physically intimate with one another. Part of the blame is in the screenplay from Vanessa Taylor, who begins with a great idea on exploring the latter stages of a long term marriage – a rare species in our modern era of day-long Vegas nuptials – but then quickly fizzles out into gags about oral sex in cinemas and fantasies about threesomes.

Thankfully, all is not lost with Hope Springs. As mentioned, the three leads are able to overcome the weakness of the screenplay and underwhelming direction to provide a satisfying performance. Steve Carell is pleasant and humorous as the marriage counselor, Jones is absolutely perfect in his role as the cantankerous tax attorney husband, and Streep is her usual brilliant self. Also helping to tighten up the enjoyability of Hope Springs is the cinematography, courtesy of Florian Ballhaus, who captures the natural beauty of New England and the quaint seaside tourist towns wonderfully.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Shot on the Arri Alexa at 2.8K resolution, Hope Springs arrives on Blu-ray is a strong AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement from Sony that is clean, detailed, richly textured, and filmic.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Audio is fairly straightforward in the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack. The mostly dialogue-driven film has only subtle atmospheric effects panned into the surround channels such as the sounds of rustling leaves or the rush of the ocean tides. Dialogue is full and clear while the musical score sounds airy and dynamic.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

These are mostly fairly brief featurettes with the cast and crew all extolling the greatness of this film and Meryl Streep in particular. Not much in the way of information is provided, except on the audio commentary from director David Frankel.

The supplements:

  • Commentary with Director David Frankel
  • Gag Reel (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:05)
  • Exploring the Scene – Alternate Takes Gallery
  • An Intimate Look at Making Hope Springs (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:11:39)
  • An Expert’s Guide to Everlasting Passion (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:21)
  • The Doctor is In: Steve Carrell on Dr. Feld (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:58)
  • Inside the Perfect Movie Marriage: Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:52)
  • The Passionate Performer (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:37)
  • UltraViolet Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Hope Springs is effectively no more than a rom-com for a slightly older generation. While it has the trappings of a more poignant film, the screenplay and direction never allow it to go into anything deeper than that, so all we are eventually presented with are the wonderful performances by the A-list castmembers and some mildly amusing moments; most of them dealing with awkward sexual situations. The wonderful picture quality and presentable lossless sound offer reasonable home theatre entertainment value, but this will hardly become a classic.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase From BestBuy.com:
Hope Springs - Widescreen AC3 Dolby - Blu-ray Disc

Hope Springs

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Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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Purchase From BestBuy.com:
Hope Springs - Widescreen AC3 Dolby - Blu-ray Disc

Hope Springs

Purchase Hope Springs on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]


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1 COMMENT

  1. In your review you say that it’s a rom-com for the boomer generation which immediately makes me think of Something’s Gotta Give and I loved that movie! I think that the subject matter being dealt with in the film and the ages of the actors may make it feel like it’s for older people but my DISH co-worker pointed out that we might learn something from these movies. I still want to see it so I added it to DISH’s Blockbuster @Home and it should be here via mail in just a few days. When I’m done I just put it back in the envelope, stick it in the mailbox, and that’s it!

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