Hope Springs

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Hope Springs Movie Poster Image
Marital dramedy is well acted but won't interest teens.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Valuable messages and themes about the joys and sorrows of a successful, long marriage. As the marriage counselor says: "Even great marriages have terrible years." The counseling sessions are full of sage advice about rekindling the spark in a complacent marriage and not taking your spouse for granted, no matter how long you've been together.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kay works hard to try to save her marriage from the domestic malaise she feels. She seeks help from a professional marriage counselor and tries to do everything the counselor suggests to make things better, although Arnold is really hesitant and stubborn until he comes to realize just how much he wants to make Kay happy.


Lots of talk about sex (or the lack thereof) in long marriages. Kay and Arnold have a sexless marriage, and they have to discuss it with their counselor in detail. The couple offers many specifics about their sex lives, including sexual positions, use of toys, preferences, and fantasies. Also a few scenes of passionate kissing, foreplay, and a humorous attempt at a public sex act, but only one actual love scene (no nudity).


Language includes "hell," "prick," "damn," and several exclamations of "goddamn," "Jesus Christ," "Christ," "Jesus," etc.


Product placements include The Golf Channel, Coldwater Creek, Barnes and Noble, Subaru Outback, and EconoLodge.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Arnold and Kay drink wine and champagne during (and after) a fancy dinner date. Kay drinks (a lot) at a local bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hope Springs -- a romantic comedy about a sixtysomething couple trying to save their 31-year marriage -- isn't very likely to appeal to most tweens and teens. Although there's no nudity in the movie's one actual love scene, plenty of sex talk (positions, preferences, erectile dysfunction) is part of the conversation as the characters explore the reasons they're no longer intimate. And there are a few scenes of passionate kissing, foreplay, and a humorous attempt at a public sex act. Language is fairly mild except for several uses of "goddamn," "Jesus," and "Christ." The couple drinks during a dinner date and gets a bit tipsy. Overall, this is a pro-marriage story that encourages husbands and wives to appreciate each other and hold on to why they were drawn to each other in the first place.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMusic/Movies July 24, 2013

Too much sex for even some teens

Sex: *A woman and a man have oral sex in a movie theater. You can see the woman get onto her knees and undo his pants, but you cannot see his privet parts. You... Continue reading
Parent of a 11 and 14-year-old Written byDowntownMom August 25, 2012

Awkard old sex

A lot of the discussion and action about sexual intimacy has to do with the woman's lack of interest in oral sex. I do not think that this is appropriate... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bykc Gummer June 29, 2013
Teen, 17 years old Written bybethlovesmaltese August 18, 2012

Dont even waste yur money!!!!

Dont even waste your time. It was terrible in my opinion and my moms opinion. 2 thumbs DOWN!!

What's the story?

Empty Nester Kay (Meryl Streep) has been married to Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) for 31 years, and her days (and nights) are filled with a boring domestic monotony that's sucking the life out of her. After reading a famous marriage counselor's self-help book, Kay decides to enroll in Dr. Feld's (Steve Carell) intensive week-long workshop in faraway HOPE SPRINGS, Maine -- much to her husband's dismay. Once there, Arnold reluctantly agrees to attend, but he finds Dr. Feld's methods too invasive, while Kay is desperate to do everything possible to rekindle the intimacy she and Arnold shared earlier in their marriage.

Is it any good?

Watching Streep and Jones on screen is like experiencing a master class in acting. Here are two of Hollywood's most esteemed performers playing a couple whose marriage is in need of an everyday type of repair. Their problems don't revolve around something melodramatic like adultery and betrayal; their issues very authentically explore the myriad ways in which a husband and wife can disappoint and alienate each other after three decades together. Director David Frankel doesn't shy away from zooming in on Streep and Jones' lined faces as they reveal the hurts and truths about their nearly broken but hopefully salvageable love story.

On Dr. Feld's couch, Streep and Jones are fantastic, as is the surprisingly serious Carell (who for once isn't playing the manic funnyman). But once Arnold and Kay head back out into the charming coastal town of Hope Springs, things swing from the humorous (like Kay's tragicomic attempt at fulfilling a sexual fantasy at a movie theater) to the cliched (Kay runs away from Arnold to go drink at a local bar). Although it's not the perfect cinematic revelation you'd hope to see from Streep and Jones, Hope Springs is a tender look at what it takes to really fight for a floundering marriage.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Hope Springs deals with a lot of mature issues -- especially the married couple's sex life. What is the movie's message about long-lasting marriages? How does counseling help Arnold and Kay?

  • How is Arnold and Kay's sixtysomething love story different than romantic comedies about younger couples?

  • What audience do you think this movie is targeted at? How can you tell? Does it succeed in reaching them?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance and comedy

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