Film Review: Rising Above Cancer in the Teen Dream ‘Hope Springs Eternal’

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CHICAGO – The topic of cancer is rarely heroic, and as we know mostly concludes tragically. But the new teen comedy “Hope Springs Eternal” turns the Big C on its ear, and features up-and-coming young actor Mia Rose Frampton to take it on. The film is light and breezy, with nods to John Hughes, absurdist teen indoctrinations and the celebration of music in life.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

Written with a nice light balance by Stephanie Mickus (her debut) and directed by Chicagoan Jack C. Newell, “Hope Springs Eternal” is tight storytelling and brisk comedy. Frampton keeps it alive with her expressive optimism in the main role, and is able to handle both the light and darkness of the “C” without being maudlin. The cast is top drawer and seems to be having a good time… the highlight being a Hughes-like “mean girl” coterie who have a habit of dressing alike. This is a great cheer-us-up film, especially if there is a struggle in life with the nature of an insidious disease.

Hope (Mia Rose Frampton) is a high school senior who has being living with cancer since she was 12 years old. In the step-by-step process of treatment, she has eschewed any everyday chore… like school, routine mendacity and life. She constantly blames the disease on her foibles, until she gets some astounding news… the cancer has gone into remission. What becomes a celebratory moment for her mother (Beth Lacke) becomes a dilemma for Hope.

It seems that all the bounty of her life, including her Aussie boyfriend Kai (Beau Brooks) and attention from popular girl Zoe (Lauren Giraldo), is the result of her fellow teen dreamers feeling sorry for her. She keeps the I’m-dying illusion going, even though it distresses her boy “friend” Seth (Stony Blyden) and cancer ward bestie Sarah (Juliette Angelo). Hope needs to learn to swim in the mainstream again.

“Hope Springs Eternal” is in theaters nationwide and available for digital download. See local listings/internet for theaters, showtimes and download availability. Featuring Mia Rose Frampton, Stony Blyden, Beth Lacke, Juliette Angelo, Beau Brooks, LaRoyce Hawkins, Lauren Giraldo and Tim Kazurinsky. Written by Stepanie Mickus. Directed by Jack C. Newell. Rated “PG

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Hope Springs Eternal”

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The Title Character (Mia Rose Frampton) in ‘Hope Springs Eternal’
Photo credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Hope Springs Eternal”

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