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Three stories are told: Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) in 1925 writing
"Mrs. Dalloway" and how she deals with mental problems; Laura Brown
(Julianne Moore) in 1951 Los Angeles--she's reading "Mrs. Dalloway" and
is having to deal with an adorable son and loving husband; Clarissa
Vaughan (Meryl Streep) in 2001 NY planning a party for a friend (Ed
Harris) dying of AIDS and her rocky relationship with her lesbian lover
(Allison Janney). The point of all these stories? Easy...to win Miramax
This movie is coldly calculated to win awards. Everything looks perfect and completely thought out--there's nothing in here to offend anybody--all the acting is done very quietly and heavy on the emotion and screaming, "Look! We're acting!". The movie also moves very slowly and is very quiet--it's basically a very self-righteous film. All the acting was excellent--especially Streep, Moore and Jack Rovello as Moore's young son--but I could always see they were acting to win. I hated this film.
There's no reason and only the slightest connection between the three stories and the slow pace wore through my patience very quickly. I dozed off at one point! Some people walked out on the movie--I wish I had joined them. Also the movies VERY depressing.
Cold, calculated, depressing, slow--a perfect Oscar winner. Miramax has done it again!
To be avoided at all costs.
I love what I call 'folding' in film, and this is certainly a folded film. Simple folding is when one element of the film creates another and the two lay side by side. Folded.
Meryl Streep was in one of the touchstones of this technique: 'The French Lieutenant's Woman,' which existed as both a story and a film about that story, with Meryl slipping seamlessly between character and actor. At all times, she carried a shadow of the other.
Nicole has come late to folded acting in 'Moulin Rouge!' but she understands the demands well. Julianne has always been folded in her approach since the peak of self-referential folding: 'Vanya on 42nd Street.' These are three of the four master actresses capable of doing such a thing.
Woolf was 'folded' in her writing, shifting between events and self-conscious comment on the events, including implicit perspectives on the creation of both. This is much like Joyce and Nabokov but more mechanically neurotic. Cunningham's treatment extends that notion and Hare respects the folding.
Here we have one world of the writer, one of the character, and one of the reader. This latter is the novelty, with an almost predictable overlap between the last two in a second, embedded writer. It is an almost perfect construction brought to life by three of the most self-aware actors in history - a folded film about a book (Cunningham's) about a book (Brown's) about a book (Woolf's) about folding. This is a work of art about nothing less than life as art, beings as gods and the angst of that knowledge. Phil Glass's score is aptly relentless, reflecting hopeless fate.
So what is wrong? What keeps this from being a life-altering experience? The director Daltry, that's what.
Daldry never passes up a chance to be overtly emotional, falsely dramatic. Where Woolf and Cunningham are subtly rich, Daltry is vulgarly plain. Where these woman cry out for multidimensional expression, Daldry shoves them into one-dimensionality. (I'll never, ever forgive him for 'Billy Elliot.') Examples: the death of the bird is so sweetly fantastic, what with the ultradarling angel, I thought I was in a Fellini excess. When the aged Laura Brown turns up at Clarissa's and starts to tear up, we actually HEAR her blink her weepy eyes. When Laura imagines her death we are treated to a vision of rising river water that is completely out of character of the type of nuanced metaphor needed. When someone in one fold cracks an egg, EVERYONE must crack an egg. When Ed Harris does his tortured artist bit, we have every stoke as plain obviousness. And this from a man who has done this precise thing with texture as Pollock! (Incidentally, he's paid his own dues with folding film in 'Truman Show.')
I cannot pass up an opportunity to comment on the hair. All three of these leads are often redheads, two of them naturally. Toni Collette is as well. In this film, red hair color has been engineered down to Julianne and Toni to match the technique of red-deprived colored film stock copied from 'Far From Heaven.' That is, except for the red Eileen Atkins (flowershop lady) who has herself made something of a career out of Virginia Woolf.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 4: Worth watching.
I really hated this movie .Besides the constant jarring changes ,switching from one story to another.Seeing Nicole Kidman with such a fake nose on was just excruciating to watch.And the overdone Lesbianism was such a turnoff.DId we have to see an ugly Nicole Kidman kiss her sister in a sexual way ,Julianne Moore kiss another woman and Meryl Streep kiss another woman.YUCK.I wish I could have left 10 minutes in but had to stay because friend drove me to theater.This movie was so depressing and boring,As usual they make the gay men have aids and be fem and look ill.Hollywood is so stereotypical as far as gay roles go,always a queen has to be in it .And when they do put a Tom Selleck in a gay movie(IN and OUT) they make it straight friendly with a lame kiss and tom sans moustache. This movie was boring the acting dull which means it probably will win an oscar for something. Utterly stupid and a waste of time .If you like this movie you must be on something.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
* Contains Spoilers* This may be a strange interpretation; it seems
that the more conventional interpretation of this movie is that it
demonstrates the unhappiness of women enmeshed in a patriarchal
society. But if you take a closer look at the characters, you may get a
sense of what I am talking about. Virginia Woolf tries to commit
suicide twice in the movie and yet has servants who, at the behest of
Virginia, are willing to go far into town to fetch ginger as an
ingredient for a meal. Julianne Moore's character, despite having a
bread-winning husband who establishes a secure, middle-class standing
for her, is nevertheless unsatisfied with her routine life and moves
away from her family after having her second child. Meryl Streep's
character has to deal with a suicidal man who, despite having AIDS,
writes a successful book that has won the acclaim of the world's best
book critics. Both Virginia and the suicidal man commit suicide despite
having access to the world's best doctors and psychologists. All three
characters are well-off and nevertheless unhappy; they are thus all
greedy and discontent. And their wealth seems to engender their
unhappiness and greediness.
*Contains Spoilers* There are obviously a lot of holes you can poke in my theory. Julianne Moore's character admits that she was happier as a librarian in Canada than as a housewife in the United States. Virginia admits that everyone is responsible for her own happiness and standing in life. The suicidal man's lover admits that he was happier after leaving him, and Meryl Streep's character understands why Julianne Moore's character sought a new life. I guess I am basing my argument on the assumption that the characters were not that much happier after making the decided changes. After all, the whole movie seems morose. If Meryl Streep's character has a hard time understanding what it takes to be happy, then how can she know whether or not Julianne Moore's character was that much happier after deciding to move away from her family? (Important to note that Meryl Streep's character was unhappy despite being surrounded by successful people. The suicidal man kills himself; he does this because he never felt loved by the mother who abandoned him (i.e. Julianne Moore's character.))
Thought-provoking movie. It is not as morose as the critics claim.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An enormous waste of talent in the most Overblown Overrated Picture of
the Year At the 53rd Berlin Film Festival, February, 2003: This morning
the press screening of "THE HOURS" (Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf) in
the Big Hall helped me catch up on some sleep lost partying the night
before. Crashingly expensive BORE and the Kidman role could have been
pulled off by any halfway decent high-school actress. Not that Nicole
was bad, just that the role is zilch anybody can play a zombie with a
false nose. But the other parts of the film. (it's a three part
invention) were even worse. The Ed Harris/Meryl Streep segment could
have been removed totally from the film without missing a beat. Who
wants to watch Ed Harris dying of leprosy on screen as they claim it's
really AIDS ~ and who cares if he left Streep years before for a gay
boyfriend? and now she's living in a lezzy affaire with another woman
whom she kisses repeatedly on the mouth. Do we really need all this
faggoty digression to embellish the theoretical Va. Wolfe biog? -- I
thought this was supposed to be a literary drama, not an excuse for
justifying same sex eroticism. Yaaawwn
The only one of the three parallel stories that held my interest at all, was the LA segment with Julianne Moore as a middle class housewife back in '51, but only because of her because for my money she is the best actress in Hollywood the new Bette Davis! But the overall story line with three extremely dull people building their private lives around the Woolf novel "Mrs. Dalloway" was one long embarrassing bore straining painfully for meaning while falling flat on its face. For me the film was over when Kidman (as Virginia Woolf) went underwater without so much as a blug-blug in the first three minutes of the pre-titles sequence when she commits suicide by calmly walking into a local lake.
The following press conference, with a peculiarly subdued Kidman there, was correspondingly null and void. (She would get an Oscar for it the following month but in Berlin she seemed to sense the lack of press enthusiasm) From the closing Festival press release: "Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore shared best actress honours at the conclusion of the 53rd Berlin Film Festival yesterday for their critically-acclaimed performances in Stephen Daldry's Oscar-nominated literary drama The Hours". This press release merely confirms the fact that so-called "critical acclaim" has little or nothing to do with actual quality and everything to do with industry promotion, also known as gold plated "hype". Ms. Kidman did, in fact, win the 2004 Best Actress Oscar -- literally by a Nose -- Arguably the phoniest nose job and biggest snow job in the history of the Hollywood cinema industry. PS: There is actually a Good little movie about Woolf entitled "Mrs. Dalloway". Check it out.
This is one of my favorite movies, mostly because of the fact that is a reference to a very remarkable person, Virginia Woolf, one of the best writers ever passed this world. It combines every "ingredient" needed to make an absolutely stunning outcome! The plot is outstanding to begin with, the way the story is unfolding is really interesting. It gives a strong feeling of how her life was and what she had in mind. Not to mention how great the acting is and, in terms of direction, I have nothing bad to mention. On the contrary! Everything meant to be just perfect. It leaves you with questions about Virginia Woolf's life, mixed feelings and perhaps makes you wonder how intriguing her writing was. I really loved its music theme too. One of my favorite soundtracks ever written for a movie, leaving exactly the same feeling as the whole movie does. Emotions are floating in the air.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I know a lot of people criticized this film for various reasons but please do yourself a favor and do not listen to any of it. This movie touches on subjects that deeply affect those who either have struggled with mental illness or have a loved one who has. Everything about this movie resonates with me in a very deep way. When the book was getting popular before this film was ever created I went and bought it and read it. I realized about midway through that this was a book that would probably haunt me the rest of my life. I think I see much of myself in each of these women. Virginia Woolf, creative and thoughtful, deeply depressed and almost comforted by the idea of death. Laura Brown, trapped and terrified of her own existence. Clarissa Vauhn, always looking for a trivial distraction, a quiet storm brewing underneath the surface. Everyone questions the meaning of life and the value of life. Everyone thinks about happiness, and remembers the moment they were happiest. These are all mortal realities. Thoughts that plague even the strongest of individuals. Suicide sometimes seems like an inevitable fate, and even a comforting solution. The moment when you meet Laura Brown at the end of the film as an old woman, you think she is going to be this broken and sad person full of regrets but she isn't. You realize that out of all three women she was the one that ultimately chose life. After speaking with Clarissa, you can tell that Clarissa finally understands that sometimes regret is just a word that means nothing. How can you regret when you didn't have a choice? It was either death or leave. Many times in my life I have felt this way. I have left my hometown without saying goodbye to anyone and moved three thousand miles away. I felt trapped, suffocated and very dangerously depressed. When I got to my final destination I felt so free. I could write for days about this movie and it wouldn't do this film justice. If you are a woman and you struggle with mental illness do yourself a favor and watch The Hours. It will give you perspective and comfort. Life isn't always beautiful and sometimes someone has to die to create contrast so that the rest of us value life. It humbles us to see someone take their own life, it makes us squeeze our children a little tighter, makes us sing a little louder, makes us love a little deeper. When Richard dies at the end of the film, you think Clarissa will fall apart and when she doesn't, and you watch this woman in shock somehow come back to life you realize that this man has been holding her back from really enjoying life. His sadness was almost an anchor for her and when he disappears it almost releases her from this darkness that surrounded him. You realize that he really was only sticking around for her. She watches him jump and it's almost like a relief to her. The darkness goes with him. One of the best scenes of the film is almost at the very end. Meryl Streep so passionately kisses her partner. It's beautiful. You can tell she is choosing life. She wants to feel that happiness she once felt again. This movie changed my life. I will never be the same.
The story of three generations of women dealing somehow with the concept of suicide. In 1923, Virginia Woolf(Nicole Kidman)is recovering from a mental breakdown as she is writing her novel "Mrs.Dalloway". In 1951, pregnant housewife Laura Brown(Julianne Moore)is planning a party for her husband, while reading Woolf's novel, and is going through issues of her own. In 2001, Clarissa Vaughan(Meryl Streep)is planning a party for her writer friend who has Aids, Vaughan strangely resembles the character, Mrs.Dalloway in Woolf's novel. All three women are examining if life is even worth living. Suicide is obviously a very tough subject matter to deal with, even tougher to watch that subject matter dealt with in a two hour period of a film. But The Hours actually handles it well, yes it's depressing to watch for obvious reasons, still this is a very powerful film, dark, but truly powerful. There was a lot of talk if Kidman won the Oscar, just because of the fake nose. In my opinion, forget the nose, her performance is very good, but because her role is smaller then you may think, maybe she should have won for supporting actress. It's not her best, but as always, she delivers a fantastic performance that really should have been the lone centerpiece of the entire film. Streep and Moore, I believe both give the best performances, especially Moore, with Ed Harris giving an extremely strong and realistic performance in a supporting role, as Vaughan's writer friend with Aids. The Hours is an incredibly well directed movie with a very haunting score by Philip Glass. The film's style of basically trying to make three women into one, figuratively speaking of course, is pretty interesting. These are sad characters with real problems so keep in mind, this will be a very grim and heartbreaking, but thought provoking film, it kind of makes you think about your own life. It's not a movie you will want to see over and over again, but it is definitely worth watching, and you won't regret it. Domestic:$41.6 Million + Foreign:$67.1 Million = Worldwide:$108.8 Million.
I didn't know what to make of this film, The Hours. For one, I think it
may be a little overrated. But on the other hand, it's far from a bad
film and it's quite powerful. But one thing for sure, this film is
dark, depressing, and dreary since the overall topic of the movie is on
a weighty matter and that is suicide. This film celebrates life, but it
also makes a case on how life is very hard and how people sometimes
make decisions to end it. This film is eye-opening, but very darn
Stephen Daldry's film tells the story in the eyes of three women, many years apart, but somehow their lives are interconnected. There is Virginia Wolff who is mentally unstable and working on a novel called "Mrs. Dalloway" that is very influential in this movie. There is Laura Brown who is an unhappily married 1950's housewife. Finally, there is Clarissa who is organizing a party for one of her friends who is in the final stages of AIDS.
This is one of those films that rely on the acting and what an acting powerhouse this film is. Nicole Kidman was superb as Wolff and deserves her Oscar. Julianne Moore was also excellent as Laura Brown. Meryl Streep is great in everything, no exception here. But she seemed to take a sidestep to both Kidman and Moore. Ed Harris was phenomenal as the AIDS-stricken man.
Overall, The Hours is a powerful movie that will probably hit home hard one way or another. On such a weighty topic, this film will get you thinking. Although it's about suicide, I think of it as more of a celebration of life and how life shall be remembered. This film may be a little slow at times, but it packs quite a punch. There is also a wonderful film score by Philip Glass as well that adds in the effectiveness. I rate this film 8/10.
A film that spans generations in the lives of three women and there are
links between them especially with themes of mental illness and suicide
and as the film progresses you will gather that two of the segments has
a stronger bond with each other.
Director Stephen Daldry brings a sure touch these three stories as the plot focuses on these women of different generations whose lives are interconnected ostensibly by the novel Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) is a New Yorker organising a party for her close friend who has won an award for his poetry and is suffering from AIDS (Ed Harris). This story is set in 2001.
Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) is a pregnant 1950s housewife in California, unhappily married she is desperately trying to bake a birthday cake and then leaves her young boy behind as she goes off to a hotel to commit suicide.
In 1920s England we have the tale of Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) stricken with depression whilst trying to write her novel as her husband desperately tries to support her and yet is at loss.
Knowing so little about the book Mrs Dalloway some of the links past me by but the acting especially by Julianne Moore and the films three stories itself were enthralling. I kind of guessed the importance of Ed Harris's character and its interesting to view that both Moore and Kidman's story had a lesbian subtext set in a time where this would had been more taboo whereas in Streep's segment she is an open lesbian.
The film is very moving in parts and Daldry directs a very accomplished picture.
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