Hope Springs (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner06/05/2003

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Not exactly unwatchable but an irritating romantic comedy, largely due to the character played by Heather Graham.

Hope Springs looks nice, but its plot is confused and it’s often infuriating where it ought to be funny. It also makes the mistake of casting Heather Graham.

Colin Firth plays Colin (presumably so Heather Graham didn't have to learn two names), a depressed British artist who decamps to the town of Hope (Smalltown USA) in the hopes of forgetting about his ex-fianceé Vera (Minnie Driver), who has subtly dumped him by sending him an invite to her wedding. To someone else.

Colin Flees To America

He holes up in Mary Steenburgen's motel-lodge thing and she feels his pain and sends over her 'care worker' friend Mandy (Heather Graham), who offers to show him around.

But, when she drives him to a local beauty spot, she suddenly necks half a bottle of Schnapps, gets instantly drunk and starts flirting, throwing things and generally behaving like some sort of dangerous freak.

And does she act this way again throughout the entire movie? No, she doesn't. Although, she also takes all her clothes off and dances around his motel room "because she's a free spirit".

Anyway, Colin decides he's going to do charcoal portraits of the weird-looking townsfolk and one shiny, happy montage later, he falls in love with Mandy and they’re going at it like rabbits. At which point, Vera turns up and tells him that the invitation was just "a joke", meant to spur him into setting a date for their wedding. D'oh!

Triumph Through Pain…Sort Of

Sadly, the movie doesn't want Colin to end up with Minnie and that's its main problem. It would have been much better if he'd had to find some way of dumping Psycho Heather and winning back Minnie, but no.

So it turns into one of those awful movies where someone has to get hurt in order for the two leads to get together. In order to do that, they try and make Minnie’s character as horrible as possible but it fails dismally.

Firth can do uptight Brits in his sleep and he does his best here. Unfortunately, you just can’t see him falling for Heather Graham, who is, frankly, awful. Driver, however, is excellent and is probably the best thing about the film.

About the only other thing it's got going for it is Frank Collison, as Fisher, Steenburgen’s unusual-looking husband. And Oliver Platt, who steals all his scenes, though he isn't in it enough – there also seems to be a scene missing, since we’re later asked to believe that he falls for Vera.

In short, Hope Springs starts well and looks good, but quickly becomes very annoying. It’s not unwatchable, but if you’re after a half-decent romcom, you’re better off with How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days.

Read our Colin Firth interview here.

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Content updated: 22/10/2017 20:07

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