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The Hours
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Hours More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Much Angst-Accurately

7/10
Author: koalaquesadilla from United States
5 November 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To fulfill the "guidelines" of IMDb, I will start off by saying that I did not enjoy watching this film. However, I found it to be an incredibly accurate depiction of depression supported by impeccable acting by a knock-out cast; plus, the positivity of the final scene (for some of the characters, at least) was refreshing.

Moving on to my motivation for a review-please post this, IMDb. This segment is still elementarily in regards to the content of the film and I think it will also provide a necessary rebuttal to a polarizing argument which could keep folks from experiencing what is really a great piece of cinema.

I just read a review by Eric Allen. The writing was satisfactory and it made a couple of valid points, but I was displeased with the piece in general.

There was one point in particular with which I took offense. The review expressed utter disgust and disillusionment with the angst in this movie, or, more specifically, with the admittedly large quantity of *sighs* present in the film. It went on to discuss the over-the-top nature of Woolf's (Kidman's) Clarissa's (Streep's), and Laura's (Moore's) respective depressions, making such post-production suggestions as titling the film "Just Kill Yourself Already".

I will offer that I, too, was a bit put off by the overall negative attitude of the film and the constant over-analysis and drama on the part of its characters. However, I recognized that these aspects of the film were accurate to actual depression patients.

And consider this: the film is about parallels between the minds of three women, one of whom is Virginia Woolf, writer of the tragic "Mrs. Dalloway" and eventual suicide case-a victim of her own torturous mind. Entering such a film, is there not an expectation or rather a necessity of the presence of angst? Additionally, the reviewer I mentioned earlier made it seem as though these women are anomalies of the human condition. They are not: According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 14.8 million Americans, or 6.7% of the population ages 18 and older, suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, making it the country's leading cause of disability. Though there are some clues as to the causation of depression, such as chemical in-balance or lack of exercise or proper nutrition, no one knows for sure.

As one can see, these women are not anomalies. They are not freaks to be looked down upon by some ignorant, condescending internet reviewer-these characters provide incredibly accurate representation of the experiences men and women who for centuries have suffered silently with similar symptoms of depression. Depression is real, and it is all too common.

So, as happy as I am that Mr. Eric Allen is ignorant to the realities of depression, I would appreciate it if next time he conducted some research to gather adequate knowledge of his subject before he writes his reviews. That way, he won't sound like an ignorant bigot and we won't have to waste our time on unfounded "pseudo-intellectual" (Allen) scribble.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Beyond expectations

10/10
Author: xorepsete from Romania
12 December 2005

What a piece of work!! I ran accidentally into this movie...and it became my favorite. Of course, you don't get to see Moore, Streep and Kidman acting so often together so you should enjoy the movie for this reason first. Then..well there are so many details to learn from in this "chef d'oeuvre" .Where should I begin from? Woolf's life is in each one of the three caracthers.Let's begin with Moore for instance: in the movie, she's an awful mother, madly in love with a friend of hers, she neglects her own son and her behavior's repercussions are later terribly borne by her son- who, by the way, became a great writer, misunderstood and...sick - sick of the world around him and suffering from AIDS. It's always a reason for which we are who we are and we become who we become. And it's disastrous for a mother not to understand her son's pain even when his story -untold and cruel story- lies in a book, incomprehensible by "common people". In the end,Laura (Moore) realizes her mistakes, but it is too late for her because her son dies alone, unable to bear the illness and "The Hours"..after the party. Streep(Clarissa) does a great job. She loves to take care of her best friend Richard ( Ed Harris), she enjoys going to his place , being always there for him, seeing her life through his eyes. But she loses, she can not be brave anymore, she gives up the feeling of special friendship between the two of them , when he kills himself. Then she takes refuge into her girlfriend's arms accepting that that compassion can be physical sometimes..those feelings of inner hate and untouchable personality can be defeated by a kiss from the one you love and live for. All these events happen on the background of Woolf's life. Kidman (Virginia) suffers a lot: there is no more love left for her, the walls are closing in and her story remains untold. She wrestles " alone , in the dark" and the only light is the one from her cigarettes. Virginia invented lives, dramas and destinies, invented and reinvented her life in her work. She drowns into life as Laura (Moore) drowns into Woolf's obsession . And while Laura escapes the passion of misleading life, Virginia embraces the predicted supreme silent moment of death. And there are no exequies , but silence for her. The glaring sun sets upon her life,leaving her "oeuvre" undying. She is "l'auteur" - and not "the author" - of everyone's destiny who believe that facts happen for a reason. At the end of "The Hours", the feeling of uselessness seems irrepressible, the story giving us the very meaning of life. Always the hours between us...and the others.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

This masterpiece will be wasted on the smug and complacent

10/10
Author: (gault@hotmail.com)
8 November 2003

An outstanding depiction of chronic depression, the deep insight it often engenders, and the devastating impact this phenomenon has on peoples' lives.

The actors must have sensed ahead of time that this was going to be a truly great movie, and all of them completely threw themselves into their roles. The result is a level of acting brilliance rarely seen in cinema today.

Intertwining three story lines in a single movie must have represented a daunting challenge for the director. However, he pulls it off with complete aplomb, enabling us to become deeply absorbed in all three stories as they move, in tandem, inexorably toward their fateful outcomes.

Some on the IMDB board have criticized this movie for being nothing more than overindulgence in morose self-absorption. But, read their comments, and it becomes apparent that many of these critics are predisposed to angrily dismiss ALL life experiences they do not understand. That's a shame because this movie offers them an opportunity to learn something about people who are very different; namely, people who - through no fault of their own - lead wretched emotional lives, and who, perhaps, see and feel far more of the truth of life than the rest of us.

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12 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Abandon all hope

3/10
Author: Erik Gloor (erik.gloor@rcn.com) from Chicago, Illinois
21 June 2004

Like slowly drowning in a vast, estrogen-scented sea of despair. This suffocatingly morbid and joyless film might best be viewed by condemned criminals as they may afterwards fight the executioner for the right to throw the switch on their electric chair.

It's rather like watching a horse-race between three plot lines as each competes to be the most depressing. Who will win? Nicole Kidman's criminally self-involved Virginia Wolf hysterically berating her husband for having the unmitigated nerve to move her to the countryside? Or will it be Julianne Moore's suicidal housewife slowly eating her heart out over her failed marriage and letting her son pay for her inaction. Perhaps it will be Meryl Streep's impotent caretaker presiding over the last tortured days of Ed Harris' crumbling AIDS victim.

Yes, folks, it's a non-stop laugh-o-rama.

Maybe it'll interest you to see how these plot lines interweave over time and unfold through an interconnected history of pain and desperation.

But if you're like me, you'll find your brain has decided to step out mid way for a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon on TV somewhere.

Drama fails to compell or even convince when all the news is either bad or mundane. Would it have been too much to ask for ONE redeemable male character? Will the cinematic deconstruction of the 1950s, an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity, EVER end? And one must wonder what the message is when each of our heroines finally DOES spontaneously assert themselves in a way I won't spoil.

If ever a movie needed some antidepressants, this film takes the taco.

This movie review by Erik Gloor

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25 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

blows.

1/10
Author: squirrel-26 from Appleton
17 February 2004

If you like self-indulgent tripe shoved down your throat for the three longest hours of your life, then this movie is for you. If you value your life, then you might want to skip this as you will learn to hate humanity...if you do not already. If there is a more obnoxious piece of feminst propaganda in the world, I haven't found it. These women SHOULD hate themselves. You will, after you watch this movie.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Suicide, lesbian love, avant-garde fiction, stellar acting, and high drama...not bad for one movie

9/10
Author: secondtake from United States
28 September 2013

The Hours (2002)

A layered, vivid, ambitious movie with literary and emotional strains that weave through an eighty year sandwich of parallel stories. And some of the acting is just fabulous. An excellent movie.

At the core is the modernist writer, Virginia Woolf, famous for being one of the great original voices of literature in the 20th Century, and for her personal struggle against mental illness, which led to her 1941 suicide (shown in the first scene in the movie). We know the drama is going to be high, and that there is a real history underpinning it all.

But it's fiction, too. Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway" is being written in the earliest (1920s) narrative, showing Woolf herself (Nicole Kidman). This book is being read in the second narrative (with Julianne Moore being the reader, a 1950s housewife with some mental instability of her own). And the contemporary (2001) narrative is a take on the Dalloway story, with echoes from the other two threads--here a writer is dying of aids and his best friend and caretaker, nicknamed Mrs. Dalloway for fun, is trying to keep him from committing suicide.

For me it was this last story that made the movie take hold. The writer is played by a surprisingly sickly looking Ed Harris, and his friend is played by Meryl Streep. These are two of Hollywood's great actors--the kinds of actors who take on a variety of roles and really change movie to movie. And their scenes together are like the best stage dramas you could ask for. For this alone the movie is worth soaking up.

In the 1920s world it is Kidman who is central--and in a real way she is the center of the idea of the movie, if not its filming. Woolf is of course the source of it all. And Kidman (who is no match for Streep in her career but who wants to be, to her credit) pulls off one of her best performances. Her husband, the somber and loving Leopold, tries to keep Woolf healthy, both physically (by making her eat) and mentally (by giving her support). That he fails, ultimately, is visible in his body language. (The actor is Stephen Dillane.) Besides this key relationship, the scenes in 20s are a little stilted, as if surviving on the aura of the times more than the events, which are minimal until the tragic climax.

In a similar way, the 1950s story is dripping with 50s set design and stereotypes of lonely housewives and sweet children and emotional restraint. There's truth to all this of course, but I was there, almost (as a kid) and there was another kind of intensity and life that is somehow missing here. Moore is rather good, though for me a bit trapped by the character she has to play. There is a nice twist to this story as it goes, which is a tonic to the general dread.

Which brings us back to the current realm and Streep and Harris, and most of all Streep who is juggling several balls at once in a masterful (another masterful) performance.

There seems to be everything here for a perfect movie, including an excellent script. The themes themselves are what end up too simplified and frankly too pushy to quite work. An extra parallel of a lesbian subplot in each case is interesting and actually helpful (some critics didn't like it), though a bit forced into the 1950s version. (The whole 1950s segment kept me thinking of "Far From Heaven" with its themes and period set design--and Julianne Moore--also released in 2002.)

Sadly, the score by Philip Glass is a droning, intrusive distraction. There is a good logic to making a score have no sense of its own era, so that it can float across the shifting periods in a unifying way. But it's that kind of canned Glass stuff that can be brilliant at its best but is here insensitive to the movie, and weirdly dry in its colorful tunefulness.

Still, I say this is one you should watch once, and should see again if you think you've seen it enough already. There's a lot to admire, a lot to think about, and a lot to digest. The best of it is, well, among the best.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly Self Serving Excruciatingly Dull Movie

1/10
Author: conniepohlman from United States
27 August 2009

A movie only the elitist Academy types could love. Nicole Kidman's role was the highest form of self-centered behavior seen in a movie. Sad to think this movie got so much notoriety when the only purpose was to expose a deeply scowling and self serving woman. At least the other two women were more aware of the consequences of their behavior and chose to rise above their own deeply mired self-serving personalities. Meryl Streep was better. Normally I love any movie she is in. I could not connect with her character in this movie. Julianne Moore's character was probably the most realistic of all three, as she exhibited believable confusion but why must we continually harp on the gay aspect when such a small percentage of people relate to this? And such heavy-handed machinations that were used on Moore's character made me embarrassed to watch her friend's reaction. It's ALL about ME seemed to scream from this movie, and I could not wait for it to finally end. Depressing enough to make one contemplate suicide, I will give it that much.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A very literary film with deep and vast performances

9/10
Author: mstomaso from Vulcan
1 July 2005

This is one of those rare films which has me wavering between a 9 and a 10 out of 10. I selected '9' for one reason, and I have to admit that my reason is not entirely fair to the film. To put it bluntly, I am a bit tired of books about writers, books about writing, and films about writing and writers. The self-referential sub-genre of fine fiction is, in my opinion, over-played and has begun to become pretentious and lazy.

Nevertheless, I can say with equal honesty that The Hours is a masterpiece of dark literary melodrama. It is NOT AT ALL pretentious, but rather true to its subjects and incredibly well crafted. As with many post-modern melodramas, there are several simultaneous multi-layered plots representing several different time periods. A good popular example of this story-telling technique is the film Magnolia, which also shares a few cast members with The Hours. The themes all seem connected by a single thread - that of depression and suicide. Two of the main characters (Harris and Kidman) are well-respected writers who feel incarcerated in their lives (Kidman plays Virginia Woolf and Harris a fictional poet with AIDS). There are several additional connections, some subtle some not, most focused on the writing of Virginia Woolf, which are revealed as the film progresses. The fact that the connections between the plots are largely unnecessary and irrelevant to the main plot and yet compelling is testimony to the power of the story-telling and the masterful acting, scripting and directing.

There is little sense in writing a plot summary for this film - the story evolves out of the profound and evocative characterizations explored in each part, so a plot summary would be as superfluous as a list of character attributes. One of the best casts I have ever seen is not at all wasted on this disturbing yet very true material. Philip Glass' soundtrack is nice, but might be a bit too repetitive to bear several viewings.

This is a film for people who do not see film as simple entertainment, but it's not a film which will bring sweetness and light to your heart. It might be a good one to see with somebody you really love, and who you might want to know a bit better than you do. It will certainly seed discussion. But be forewarned, this is serious business.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful movie...how refreshing

10/10
Author: lwaldo25 from houston
24 February 2004

It's nice to know that the Hollywood machine isn't completely oblivious to those of us who appreciate a great story and even greater acting.For those who do not get this movie and do not understand the plight of the three women involved, no this movie is not for you. Perhaps you'd rather have gone to the latest Ben Affleck disaster-of-a-film instead. The key issue in these women's lives are their own control over their emotions and their destiny. One woman decides to leave her life by death. One woman decides to leave her life by deserting her family. One woman decides to leave her life in the past and embrace the future ahead of her. This movie is about choices and consequences and the relationship one has with oneself. It's about self preservation and identity. How a woman forms her identity and what she does to change it with the cards she is dealt - this is what gives this movie its backbone. These characters are real. Their emotions and strain were almost unbearable to watch because they were so believable.

There were many moments I found myself holding my breath because of what they were allowing us to experience. Keep in mind that most of this film takes place in a pre-Prozac existence when Sigmund Freud was all the rage and modern psychiatry was decades away. Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep are amazing. With so many duds being released and labeled "motion pictures" it's refreshing to sit down to a movie that actually makes you earn the reward of the ending. This is a thinking woman's movie - all others need not apply.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Wow

10/10
Author: leighkaty from United States
7 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am a writer myself and not only does it make you want to stop and write it also inspires people to think about their lives a little more. Look at this movie and I am sure that it will leave you thinking about a lot more things than you were the day before. Nicole Kidman is not my favorite actress; but she surprised me with a very good choice. Streep and Moore both give wonderful performances; but Kidman steals the show in this powerful performance. Even though I really loved this movie, I found Moore's character slightly annoying. She seemed to go to very different lengths to get where she needed to go, where Kidman and Streep went to different ones, but had a sort of connection. Ed Harris gives another wonderful performance and was again raped from the awards he deserved.

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