An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene.
Richard E. Grant
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If you have read any of the other reviews on this page, you have probably figured out "The Hours" is not the easy, mainstream film it was made out to be by the ads and the reviews. Starring three of today's most popular leading actresses, winner of some Golden Globe awards, based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, and the recipient of numerous rave reviews; it would seem to be a film that would appeal to a lot of people.
"The Hours" is not a regular Hollywood type of drama film. It has more in common with Ingmar Bergman films than with "Terms of Endearment." I think the thing that most people are having problems with is that the film does not explain what takes place or the significance of the context of what takes place. Things happen and it is up to the viewer to decide what it means. This is a controversial film and people will not only argue about whether or not the film is worthwhile, but they can also debate what exactly takes place during the film. How a person interprets this film says more about the person than the film.
The film follows a single day in the lives of three women in different time periods. During this day, each of them makes a decision that will affect the rest of their life.
I felt the film improved upon the book by bringing more clarity into the decisions of each character. Also, some of the most memorable lines and scenes in the film did not exist in the book.
While I would normally be the last person in the world to say anything positive about Phillip Glass, his score is evocative of the relentlessness of time. This is accentuated by the ticking of the clock throughout the film. The ethereal music also helps tie the three storylines together, to make it seem as if they are happening simultaneously.
I think a lot of people were taken off-guard by this film because they were expecting a more standard type of drama. Also, the PG-13 rating implies a lighter subject matter than is actually in the film. Just as a warning: There is crying, suicide, and women kissing women. Even though the violence and language is mild and there are no sex or nudity in the film, it should have probably been given an R rating because of the extreme emotion displayed in the film. Emotionally unstable people should probably not see this film.
As I said earlier, people will interpret this film differently since things are not spelled out for them. For the record, I did not think all three women were suffering from clinical depression as suggested by some people. Virginia's malaise would seem to fit the description of schizophrenia rather than clinical depression. Clarissa was suffering from regret over a decision she made thirty years previous and the feeling that she will never experience that happiness again. That does not necessarily mean she is clinically depressed. Laura is the depressed one and she makes a decision to handle that depression the way she thinks is best for her. Also, I do not feel Virginia was either incestuous or a lesbian. I think she was expressing her desperation through her disease and it came out in a socially unacceptable manner.
There is no doubt in my mind that "The Hours" is a great film. I only recommend it to people who are up to the challenge of thinking about the film long after they have left the theater and deciding about what it means. It is not a film for everybody but I felt it was worth the effort.
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