David Frankel’s joyful romantic comedy charts the affairs of the heart of a long-time married couple, who are desperate to rediscover the spark that brought them together more than 30 years ago.

The script, penned by Vanessa Taylor, spares few blushes including hilarious scenes of Meryl Streep practising her technique in private on a peeled banana, or attempting to perk up screen husband Tommy Lee Jones in an empty cinema.

“The whole situation was just dangerous: all those cupholders, rocking back and forth,” he despairs after the impromptu amorous adventure ends in disappointment.

Arnold Soames (Jones) and his wife Kay (Streep) celebrate their latest wedding anniversary by buying each other cable television subscriptions.

The couple’s children Brad (Ben Rappaport) and Molly (Marin Ireland) sense all is not well, but Arnold appears unconcerned, content to stick to the same routines and sleep in a separate room to his wife.

Kay is deeply unhappy.

“When was the last time you touched me that wasn’t for a picture?” she tearfully asks her spouse.

In desperation, Kay uses her savings to buy a series of intensive couples counselling sessions with Dr Bernie Feld (Steve Carell) It’s a tentative first step towards greater openness that could save the marriage.

Hope Springs is smart, funny and sweet, underpinned by surprisingly convincing screen chemistry between Streep and Jones, who both bring gravitas and deep emotion to their roles.