Writer Stephanie Mickus turns the teen-with-cancer trope upside down in the lightweight and treacly “Hope Springs Eternal,” starring Mia Rose Frampton. Directed by Jack C. Newell, the film posits this question: What happens when the dying girl goes into remission?
The dry-humored Hope (Frampton) has built her identity around being sick: She gets lots of free snacks, sympathy, help with homework and special treatment. When she’s suddenly in remission and that all falls away, Hope doesn’t even know who she is anymore. Her supportive best friend and teachers stop cutting her slack, and her Australian boyfriend whom she met on a Make-a-Wish trip starts dating the popular girls, who no longer have to be nice to her. Worst of all, Hope has to stop living in the moment and start planning for the future.
While the concept is an interesting twist on the genre, the execution is stilted and listless. But the bubbly and buoyant Frampton (daughter of rocker Peter Frampton) proves to be a magnetic presence on-screen, flipping from sarcastic to sweet with ease. She’s saddled with pulling along the rest of the cast, as well as a story lacking in energy and originality. Despite the fresh perspective, the characters and beats are exceedingly formulaic.
“Hope Springs Eternal” is fine as a leading role for Frampton, who has had small supporting roles in bigger projects such as “Bridesmaids,” but her star power far exceeds the boundaries of this limited project.
‘Hope Springs Eternal’
Rated: PG, for thematic material and some language
Running time: 1 hour, 18 minutes
Playing: Starts Aug. 10, Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood