Starring: Colin Firth, Heather Graham, Minnie Driver
Director: Mark Herman
Running Time: 92 mins
Hope Springs is an American film about a lovesick Englishman who travels to the small US town of Hope in search of starting his life afresh after breaking up with his girlfriend, a plan that starts well after he meets an American woman there.
There’s always a fine line between a cute and sweet romantic comedy and something as cheesy as can be. Hope Springs sits right on that line, with some unbearably sappy moments working alongside some rather lovely romance and comedy. The film certainly benefits from three great leads in Colin Firth, Heather Graham and Minnie Driver, although it often plays a little too heavily on rom-com genre tropes for its own good.
For the most part, though, Hope Springs is a film that will make you smile. It won’t necessarily make you laugh out loud from beginning to end, but it’s just silly and sweet enough to put a smile on your face, particularly as we follow the blossoming relationship between a lovelorn Colin Firth and a sheltered Heather Graham.
Though not the first pair you’d think to put together in a romantic comedy, Firth and Graham work wonderfully together, with a really sweet back-and-forth that goes beyond the sappiness of Firth’s appearances in both Bridget Jones’ Diary and Love, Actually.
Their surprisingly lovely chemistry forms the backbone of what makes Hope Springs an ultimately cheesy but enjoyable watch, bolstered by a delightful supporting turn from Mary Steenburgen, and an entertainingly evil appearance from Minnie Driver as Firth’s ex-girlfriend.
Admittedly, the movie still isn’t a masterpiece of romantic comedy, and both its comedy and its romance are never particularly outstanding. Particularly in its final act, Hope Springs seems to lean too heavily on generic rom-com tropes that it actually manages to avoid earlier on.
In fact, the first act is full of zany comedy and quirky mishaps, without too much sappy romance getting in the way. That said, the film doesn’t quite keep that up all the way through, which ultimately proves a bit of a disappointment.
On the whole, then, I rather liked Hope Springs for its sweet and ultimately bearably cheesy story. With fun performances from its leads and some good laughs now and then, it’s a pleasant watch, albeit never the most genuinely hilarious or captivating film you’ll come across. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 6.8.