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This film, though excellently made and acted was a piece of pseudo intellectual twaddle which served no real purpose and had no real meaning or connection to the real Virginia Woolf or her writing except for the inclusion of several character names and her death. The modern story in no way fit in with anything she ever wrote and the Mrs. Dalloway story occurred early in her career. Also at the time of her death she was nearly sixty years old. I also find the use of aids as a plot supplement to be so overused that it minimalizes the reality of aids. I watched the entire film and could see little reason for Nicole Kidman having won an Oscar. Wearing a prosthesis and appearing depressed,sad, unhappy, etc., etc, etc, does not take a wide range of skill. Actually seeing as how I was neither entertained, moved, or informed by this film I wonder how so many others deemed it as worthy. It seems as if surface depth is enough nowadays to pass for the real thing.
'The Hours' is about three stories. The first, set in 1923, is about
Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) writing the novel Mrs. Dalloway. The second
is set in 1951 and is about Laura (Julianne Moore) reading Mrs. Dalloway.
The third is set in 2001 and is about Clarissa (Meryl Streep) living the
same life as Mrs. Dalloway. We switch between these stories in one way, but
in another way it is one big story told in different times.
The movie has the best ensemble a movie can have: the acting is more than great. Nicole Kidman gives probably the best performance but may be it seems that way because you don't recognize her at all. Not in appearance, not in voice. She won the Academy Award for her Virginia Woolf (after her nomination last year for 'Moulin Rouge!'). Julianne Moore was nominated for her supporting role in this movie, and for another great performance in 'Far from Heaven'. Thirteen time Academy Award nominee Meryl Streep was also nominated but for her part in 'Adaptation', also the same year as this movie. Moore and Streep give terrific performances. Ed Harris as the ex-husband of Clarissa is very good and was also nominated for an Academy Award. Other great parts by John C. Reilly (in the same year he appeared in award winning movies like 'Gangs of New York', 'Chicago', 'The Good Girl' and 'The Hours'), Jeff Daniels, Allison Janney, Toni Collette, Miranda Richardson, Stephen Dillane and Claire Danes. Not one of them is bad or annoying, they all do the best they can do in this movie.
The acting, together with a great story perfectly edited, a fantastic direction by Stephen Daldry, make-up very well done (see Kidman and later on Moore), some nice photography and beautiful music composed by Philip Glass this is one of those movies you will remember.
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 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 ***
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. 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. Philip Glass's score is just spellbinding and fits the tone of the film so well. The Hours is about loneliness, without being melodramatic. The Hours, is a powerful story told by powerful actors. It is just a beautiful, sad and profound film about the lives of ordinary people.
OK, but not great. Takes a while to get going, is filled with
superficial melodrama and ultimately isn't overly profound. Still, the
Meryl Streep-Ed Harris storyline is quite moving, and makes the movie
I am not a Nicole Kidman fan, and this movie didn't change that. I always found her characters so prissy and pretentious, and this was no exception. She certainly didn't deserve her Best Actress Oscar (though there wasn't much competition in the 2003 Oscar year).
Ed Harris and Julianne Moore got Supporting Actor/Actress nominations for their performances, and Harris' nomination was well deserved (he lost out to Chris Cooper, in Adaptation). Meryl Streep should have at least gotten a nomination for her performance.
*** 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.
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