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The Hours (2002)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  14 February 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 97,683 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 655 user | 174 critic | 39 from Metacritic.com

The story of how the novel "Mrs. Dalloway" affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 38 wins & 103 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara in Flower Shop
Mrs. Latch
Nelly Boxall
George Loftus ...


In 1951, Laura Brown, a pregnant housewife, is planning a party for her husband, but she can't stop reading the novel 'Mrs. Dalloway'. Clarissa Vaughn, a modern woman living in present times is throwing a party for her friend Richard, a famous author dying of AIDS. These two stories are simultaneously linked to the work and life of Virginia Woolf, who's writing the novel mentioned before. Written by Jonas Reinartz <jonas.reinarzt@web.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements, some disturbing images and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

14 February 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Las horas  »

Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$338,622 (USA) (27 December 2002)


$3,246,655 (Japan) (4 July 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


From the outset, Nicole Kidman had always been Stephen Daldry and Scott Rudin's first choice to play Virginia Woolf. See more »


When Laura's son is sitting at the table with his breakfast in front of him, his glass is empty in one shot and then full of orange juice in the next. See more »


Virginia Woolf: I've been attended by doctors, who inform me OF MY OWN INTERESTS.
See more »


Featured in Se eida...: I Kaiti, i Loucy kai i Bom (2008) See more »


by Philip Glass
See more »

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User Reviews

Provocative and Hopeful
15 April 2003 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

Boasting an exemplary cast, purposeful direction, authentic production values, and a haunting musical score, The Hours is a sincere praiseworthy attempt to adapt Michael Cunningham's prize-winning novel to the screen. It is provocative, introspective, hopeful, and at times downright desolate. As evidenced by the opening sequence, the value of life itself is called into question and it sets the tone for the rest of the film.

The complex storyline focuses on one day in the lives of three women from three different generations. Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is living outside of London with her husband in 1923, recovering from mental illness and beginning work on her now famous novel, Mrs. Dalloway. Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) is a 1950's suburban housewife, married to a World War II veteran (John C. Reilly), raising a small boy while expecting another child. And then there is Clarissa Vaughn (Meryl Streep), a present-day version of Mrs. Dalloway, so named by her one-time lover and now AIDS-stricken writer Richard (Ed Harris), living in New York and planning one of her renowned parties for him following his reception of a prestigious poetry award.

Yet there is a common thread among them that effaces any 'real' normalcy in their lives and ultimately forces each of them to make life-altering decisions. Themes revolving around feminism and sexual preference stir just below the surface. But it is the prevailing sadness of these women brought on by the confinements of a restrictive and often stifling society that is at the core of this film. Their yearning for something more or for that 'one perfect moment' in time places each of them in the painful position to question their own existence. The sequences in each of their lives are carefully interwoven throughout the movie, enhancing their parallel struggles.

The Hours is skillfully directed by Stephen Daldry and contains some of the finest performances of the year. Julianne Moore's depiction of Laura Brown is filled with subtlety and nuance. She epitomizes a 1950's housewife with a constant shiny exterior who can barely contain the internal struggle of her life's claustrophobic confinements. Meryl Streep's Clarissa Vaughn, though bound by memories of her past, is somewhat less restricted in her character as a modern New York editor living with her female lover and therefore has more opportunity to display her considerable emotional range.

However it is Nicole Kidman's portrayal of Virginia Woolf that is the most mesmerizing and transforming performance in the film. She is completely submerged as the famous novelist of the early twentieth century. The hype concerning Kidman's prosthetic proboscis and its alleged distraction is much ado about nothing. To the contrary, it enhances her performance and allows her characterization of Virginia Woolf to fully emerge. Audiences will not recognize her, nor should they.

But if it is familiar players and plotlines you are seeking then The Hours is not for you. It is neither fantasy nor escapism, yet what it lacks in pure entertainment it makes up for with introspection and a somewhat hopeful ending.

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