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Not much to say good about "The Hours" other than the acting was very good.
Everything else about this movie missed the mark or was just was just plain
Everyone made a big deal about this movie because of Nicole's nose job and how it changed her for the roll. Okay but I need a little more than that in a movie.
The only part I liked was when the titles rolled at the end and I could hit rewind and take this dog back to the video store.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The thing about this movie is that it is based on a book that has
significant connections with a second book, which means that if you do
not know the book that the book is based on then it can be difficult to
understand what is going on. The book, 'The Hours' is, not so much
based on, but written out of, a book by Virginia Woolf called Mrs
Dalloway. I have heard of the book, and have a vague idea about what
the book is about, but I haven't read it, and don't plan on reading it
until the next time I am in London (namely because somebody said that
Mrs Dalloway is a book that one should read while wondering around
London, and if there is one place in London that I like to read books,
it is on a seat next to the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens, looking
over at a palace, while drinking a cup of tea).
Anyway, Mrs Dalloway is set during a single day and begins with Mrs Dalloway going off and buying some flowers, and then spends the rest of the day preparing for a party. The Hours is about three women who are connected, one of them being Virginia Woolf as she writes Mrs Dalloway, and the other two, one in the 1940s, the other in 2001, preparing for a party. I will not say too much about the connections between two of the woman, but obviously one of the connections involves the book Mrs Dalloway, which is how Virginia Woolf is connected with the other two.
I have seen something like this before, with Cloud Atlas, where you seem to have three disconnected stories, but they are connected by a simple thread. However, like Cloud Atlas, the connections in this story run a lot deeper. For instance, the women are both preparing for a party, and the woman begin by going out and buying flowers. The connection with Virginia Woolf though is simply through the book Mrs Dalloway.
I wasn't a big fan of this film, though I did actually think Nicole Kidman played Virginia Woolf really well (and I am not a big fan of Kidman). Meryl Streep also played her role well, however because I have not read the book, it is difficult for me to compare the characters in the film with those in the book, however if I am to read the book, it will definitely be after I have read Mrs Dalloway, which means it will be after I go to London for a third time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What is Life made of? Meaningless routines? Regrets? Happiness?
Quietness? Peace? Movie "The Hours" is based on life's of three women
of three different generations. All they have in common is despair.
Hopelessness. Desperate need to find a meaning to their life's and
hence happiness. Novel "Mrs Dalloway" connects all these three women.
One woman an author, one woman who reads this novel and reflects on her
own way of living, one woman who is actually living the novel.
Virginia Wolf is the author of the book "Mrs Dalloway" who is suffering from depression, hallucinations. She has failed twice with her suicide attempts. She is advised by doctors to stay in a serene, quite place Richmond away from London. Which to her is death. She prefers violent jolt of city life to eerie suburbs. She has a loving husband who is constantly threatened by her suicidal tendency. To her sister Nessa, Virginia's life seems perfect and thinks Virginia is very fortunate to live two life's. One that Virginia is leading and the book that she is writing. Virginia believes that there is certainty in death. Death is the only possible escape for her. This reflects so much in her novel where she is trying to kill one of the characters. When her husband questions why someone has to die, she says "Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more. It's contrast"
"You cannot find peace by avoiding life, Leonard."
Laura Brown is a pregnant housewife with a doting husband and a kid. She thinks she has lost her own life in being a wife, a mother. She is very unfulfilled and struggles to cope with a life that is ordained on her. A life without choices. She makes every effort to fit in, yet she is so unhappy and depressed. All this lead to thoughts of killing herself. What happens to her? Does she kill herself? Does she go back to her family and continue to live a life that does not define her? Or does she make a choice after all which she may or may not regret?
"It would be wonderful to say you regretted it. It would be easy. But what does it mean? What does it mean to regret when you have no choice? "
Clarissa Vaughan is the one who is living the novel Mrs Dalloway. A modern-day woman living with her gay partner. Who reassures herself that her life is not trivial by throwing parties and trying to be a good hostess. This is a meaningless routine that she builds to make her otherwise meaningless life worthy. She has an adopted girl child, a good career, a loving partner. But she cannot get over her young love Richard. Richard is an award winning poet, gay, and is suffering from AIDS.Richard and Clarissa share a beautiful relationship. Clarissa regrets her decision of losing her true love, soul-mate, friend Richard. She feels insignificant without Richard.
"Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can't go on spoiling your life any longer. I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been"
All of these woman have someone who loves them, who have something to carry on their life's with. But life is not about the hours that we live isn't it? It is not those meaningless hours that you spend on routines, years that you spend on trying to hold on a thing which is not you. Life is not the choices we made or not made. Life is about moments. Right there. Right then.
"I remember one morning getting up at dawn, there was such a sense of possibility. You know, that feeling? And I remember thinking to myself: So, this is the beginning of happiness. This is where it starts. And of course there will always be more. It never occurred to me it wasn't the beginning. It was happiness. It was the moment. Right then."
This movie may not be a perfect drama, may not help you in finding a meaning to life. May not give you a perspective. But it shows life as is and the rest is left to viewer's interpretations. Most of the movie is up for your own perspective. This is not a sad story either. There are lot of positive messages through out the movie.
"To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. Leonard, always the years between us, always the years. Always the love. Always the hours."
I love the movie for the direction, and brilliant performances by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julian Moore. Awards that they got for this movie are well deserved.
The Hours is a triple tracked story about three women of different time
periods all of whom have to grapple with the idea of suicide. Don't
blink while watching this or you may miss a moment of great acting in
someone's look or voice inflection.
All of the women are influenced by novelist Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, all are reading the book at the time the moment of life crisis comes to them. Who would be more influenced by the book than its author Virginia Woolf played here by Nicole Kidman. Her story of suicide is well known and maybe she did reexamine her own writings in Mrs. Dalloway.
The other two stories are from 1951 Los Angeles and 2001 New York. In Los Angeles Julianne Moore seemingly the perfect suburban housewife feels trapped, especially in those times of forced conformity. She's married to your typical suburban dad in John C. Reilly and has one kid and one on the way. But she's reading Mrs. Dalloway and questioning herself.
The modern story in New York involves literary agent Meryl Streep who is taking care of an ex-husband who now has AIDS and is in the final stages. Streep is a lesbian and ex-husband Ed Harris is a gay man. But back in the day people, in fact in all three days, people felt a need to conform to societal norms. It was of course strongest in Virginia Woolf's time in the United Kingdom between the two World Wars. Streep and Harris served as each other's 'beards' even marrying because only now are same gender couples fighting for that right.
At first when I was watching The Hours I thought that maybe it should have just served as a three part film with individual stories. But the reason the film unfolds as it does with the cross-cutting between time and plots will be made clear at the end.
The Hours was up for a flock of Academy Awards including Best Picture, but it only won in one category, Best Actress for Nicole Kidman. Her portrayal of Virginia Woolf is an exercise in restraint and intelligence, her psychosis is very subtly suggested. Some might have chosen to chew the scenery, but in Nicole's case less turned out to be very much more.
Ed Harris was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Julianne Moore for Best Supporting Actress. Moore's appearance in that category was strictly to increase the chance that she or Kidman would win and it worked. But truth be told the three women all have about equal screen time. Harris is unforgettable as a dying man with the AIDS related dementia, questioning all around him including his continued existence.
The Hours is restrained, literate, and wonderful and gives lie to the fact that great screen roles for women just aren't being written.
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.
The layers of complexity of this excellent film are better understood upon a
second viewing. The past experiences of the characters are alluded to, and
one has to listen carefully to understand the significance of these. Woolf
has her past, Clarrisa had her youthful summer love affair with Richard, and
Laura Brown had her painfully shy high school years. Each of these women's
back stories informs us of their hours in the day that we are seeing unfold
in this film. Laura felt different than the other girls; thus her shyness
and painful marriage where she was trying to be the perfect wife, all the
while wanting something else. Woolf suffered from mental illness and had no
means of being treated in the 1920's. The present day Mrs. Galloway's
passion is for a Richard, a gay poet dying of AIDS. His former lover visits
and she breaks down from the weariness of seeing Richard ravished by the
disease and the lover's presence bringing back so many memories.
Streep's performance here is one of her very best. To my mind she blows everybody else off the screen. We see Clarrisa working in the kitchen separating the eggs; buying the flowers from the lady who has read Richard's poetry and novel; talking to her lover Sally from the next room; kissing her lover after hearing Laura's confession; her sweet, yet complex conversation with her daughter; negotiating with Richard as he resists her caring; and then again later in the day when she witnesses his outburst after mixing his meds which leads to tragedy.
John Reilly, Julianne Moore, Toni Collette, and the little boy who plays the son are all remarkable in the 1950's sequence. There is real poetry in the scenes with Moore.
The whole enterprise with Kidman's Woolf and her relationship with her husband and the cutting back and forth between the other two time periods are masterful. I also appreciated Kidman's performance much more on the second viewing. This film seems to me a major achievement of its kind - a real multi-layered meaningful story about the human condition. The wonderful Philip Glass score also adds much to the film.
Like most truly great films, THE HOURS isn't a film for everyone.
This one is for those filmgoers with an acquired taste (like for fine
wine). THE HOURS has been often criticized for being too long;
but, if you think about it, three intercut stories in two hours... that is
concise. Stephen Daldry has done a marvelous job. All three
stories connect smoothly. This is greatly due to the beautiful
score by Philip Glass. David Hare displays some the best
screenwriting in recent years. All performances are great. The
reason most people won't like this movie is because it is very
dark, showing people full of despair, people who dream of self- killing. Oddly, suicide in this film is examined as a positive
solution to the characters's situations. (People in Eastern cultures
are more likely not to find this so odd.) As dark as this picture may
seem, it is not void of hope. You just have to look....
A perfect 10/10!
The Hours is a deep movie, about three women who are all very deep and rich characters. It isn't often a movie like this comes around, nor one this good when it does. It has the ability to make you really sit and evaluate your own life when you've finished watching it, and I highly recommend reading the book as well for an even more deeper insight. It's a movie with power, and movies like that now days are hard to find.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I went in to "The Hours" expecting to be disapointed, I honestly couldn't
see how anybody could adapt oneof may all time favorite books into a film
without losing some or all of the emotional richness that makes the book
Two hours later I came out of the movie theater stunned by what David Hare
and Stephen Daldry had achieved in bringing the book to life, Hare had
trimmed down the novel, losing some plots but never losing any of the
emotional punch the book has and Stephen Daldry elictied career defining
performances from the two greatest actresses working today, Meryl Streep
Julianne Moore and also did a great job with Nicole Kidman whose
I'm slightly less impressed by.
Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep BECAME their characters, I felt I wasn't
watching Moore and Streep play Laura Brown and Clarissa Vaughn
I felt I was watching Clarissa and Laura, the chracters I had imagined
and time again while reading the book, Nicole Kidman sadly didn't quite
the same effect although I feel that if so much media attention hadn't
focused on her "transformation" into Virgina Woolf I may have found it
easier to feel the same way about her performance as I do Streep and
Moore's. The supporting cast including Allison Janney, Claire Danes, Ed
Harris, Jeff Daniels, Stephen Dillane, Miranda Richardson, Toni Collette
John C. Rielly all shine in their limited roles as well.
"The Hours" opens in 1942 England where Virgina Woolf (Kidman) exits her house, walks out of her garden, down to a river, weighs herself down with stones and walks into the river, drowning herself. The film then transfers to 2001 NYC where Clarissa Vaughn is going out to buy flowers for a party sheis holdiing, then back to 1923 England where Virgina Woolf is struggling to write the first lines of her book "Mrs. Dalloway" and Laura Brown wakes up in 1952 Los Angeles, torn between picking up her copy of "Mrs. Dalloway" and escaping into it's world or going and helping fix her son breakfast.
As their respective days progress Clarissa visits her friend Richard who is dying from AIDS and is mentally unstable because of the diseases effect on his brain, Richard whom calls Clarissa Mrs. Dalloway is the person Clarissa is throwing the party for, he has won a prize for his poetry, she must face the fact that she is losing the man she loves, who never loved her back, both Clarissa and Richard are gay, but had in their youth had an affiar and Clarissa has never been able to find love like that she has had with Richard. Laura struggles to live out a normal day, feeling trapped by her surroundings and her life, she wants to be the perfect wife and mother but finds herself overwhelmed by the simple task of baking a cake and after an experience with a female neighbour who is ill and in need of comfort during in which she kisses her, she finds herself leaving her young son Richie with a neighbour and going to a hotel room to escape, taking a jar of sleeping pills with her, because the simple task of living has her contemplating suicide. Virgina meanwhile is struggling with her recovery from a period of depression and trying to write a book under the watchful eye of her husband Leonard. She feels trapped in the small town of Richmond and longs for the excitement of London, she feels left out of life, especially after a visit from her sister and decides to go to London but gets no further than the train station before her husband catches up with her. Laura and Clarissa's stories colide into to each other but I'm not giving away how. "The Hours" is a brilliant film that deals with the themes of love, loss, life, sanity, madness, sexuality and above all survival, I think Ricard summed up the whole film perfectly with one simple quote: "But I still have to face the hours, don't I? I mean, the hours after the party, and the hours after that..." 10/10
There's no way to capture the essence of this haunting film with a few
words. There is some of the best acting ever by Moore, Kidman, Harris,
Streep, actually everyone in the film. Pretty much everyone knows the
plot of the film so I won't get into that. I will say that it's a dark
drama, hard to watch, death is the recurrent theme-in other words-it's
That said, I believe it is impossible to watch this film and remain untouched. Any one of these extraordinary actresses would deserve an Oscar, Nicole is almost unrecognizable in her role, Moore is chilling and Streep is heartfelt but EVERYONE does a great job including the supporting roles. The most apt description for the movie is "haunting". So is the music. In fact, the music is so powerful and haunting it will seep into you and stay with you long after the film is over.
There's a reason this film received such recognition and the actors/actresses such acclaim and if you can understand you won't smile much though the film you will, at the very LEAST be impressed with the talent that went into creating this and at the BEST be completely swept away by it. You maybe confused by aspects of it, look for a lot of symbolism. 10 of 10.
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