Meryl Streep continues to impress in Hope Springs!

Is it just me? Or is Meryl Streep amazing? Every role she plays is believable and she is able to disappear into the character.  As I watched Hope Springs I was again finding it hard to believe this was the same woman who played Julia Childs and Miranda Priestley.  Man, she’s good.  So subtle and nuanced.  As you may have figured, the acting is the reason to check out this movie.  Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are wonderful.

That’s not saying that the film fails in other departments, it is a bit thin and plays in familiar territory, but overall it wins you over with the fine performances and the realistic approach to the theme.

You may have guessed that I love realism in my movies (except for when there are Vampires or Superheroes involved :)) and I appreciated that writer Vanessa Taylor and director David Frankel based the couples’ problem on how real people would deal with it.  There is no easy fix or sappy realization of what needs to be done, while the music soars in the background.  It is slow, painful and difficult to change years of behavior and they did not shy from showing that process. Well done!  Add Steve Carrell as the unusually cool, laid back therapist and you have an interesting character study of this couple.

I am sure many will relate, as I did in several areas.  It is refreshing to see substance in the romance genre and for that alone it is worth a viewing.  Now, it is more drama than comedy (dramedy) so adjust your expectations and you will lose yourself in their story.

 

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Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is lovely!

Yes. It is truly about the destruction of the Earth. And yet, it is funny, touching and romantic. I loved that Seeking a Friend for the End of the World has a unique and creative premise and did not take the easy way out.  It stuck to its guns. And by doing so, it allowed the characters to evolve naturally and the result is heartbreaking and sweet.

The credit has to go to writer/director Lorene Scafaria who, for her directorial début, chose to create a dark, bleak setting for a romance to bloom.  This gave her the freedom to explore the various aspects of human nature, the desperation of many, as well as some hilarious coping mechanisms. What would you do if you only had 3 weeks left on the planet? Trust me.  Scafaria covers an array of reactions to this scenario.  She guides you through a series of emotions along with her characters and it is very effective.  

It helps that we have the awesome Steve Carrell as Dodge, a soft-spoken everyman, and the wonderful Keira Knightley as Penny, a younger free spirit, who are destined to cross paths.  All I will say is that the development of their relationship is one of the most real and heartwarming I’ve seen on-screen in a long time.  Truly lovely.  The play off each other perfectly and despite their glaring differences they find something special.  

I felt that the message of this film was about life and how we choose to live it, except that this notion is intensified in the story because they know the deadline.  Would we live differently if we knew when it would end?  Would love and friendship be all that really matters? In truth, everyday could be our last and maybe we need seize any opportunity to love and to be happy–even if it turns out to be for short time–because at the end of the world, that is all that will really count.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. Is wonderfully more than I expected!

I went in ready for some fluffy romantic comedy fun–(starring some of my favorite people)–and by the end, I was in LOVE with Crazy, Stupid, Love.  Refreshingly, it does not follow a formula, instead it chooses to follow a man’s journey to try to understand this thing we call love.  The cast is pitch perfect and the writing is funny and full of heart.  But what sells this is the chemistry between its talented stars.

Steve Carell continues to impress.  He has this amazing ability to become the average man, yet remains wickedly sharp.  Ryan Gosling is fantastic!  (One of my favorites.)  Gosling has turned in some incredible performances and here he uses his skill to add little details that add depth to his womanizing alpha male.  Add the always wonderful Julianne Moore, the charming Emma Stone, who I have a crush on and the young, scene stealing Jonah Bobo –and you have an unforgettable ensemble.

I felt connected to these characters.  I felt their pain and loneliness.  I shared in their love.  I laughed with them and felt their embarrassment.  That’s a huge accomplishment for a 2 hour movie to make.  I will praise the directors, Glenn Ficarra and  John Requa and the screenwriter, Dan Fogelman for that.  Bravo!

I will boldly say you will fall in love with this film, too.  Really?  Yes, I believe in it that much.  Let’s call it faith…faith in love.