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Based on the 1999 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same title by
Michael Cunningham, Stephen Daldry's 'The Hours' is an outstanding
cinematic experience! It's striking screenplay, Daldry's epic direction
and bravura performances make the Hours spent on it worth-while.
About Three women of different generations whose lives are interconnected by the novel Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Among them are Clarissa Vaughan played by Streep, a New Yorker preparing an award party for her AIDS-stricken long-time friend and poet, Richard played by Ed Harris, in 2001. Laura Brown played by Moore, a pregnant 1950s California housewife with a young boy and an unhappy marriage. And Virginia Woolf herself played by Kidman, in 1920s England, who is struggling with depression and mental illness whilst trying to write her novel.
Women-Centric films have always caught my attention. The empowerment of this SEX in the adapted screenplay is executed with flourish. David Hare has done complete justice to the screenplay.
Stephen Daldry is a genius. Converting a fine Novel into a Film, is a big, big, challenge and Daldry executes each scene with remarkable understanding. 'The Hours' is undoubtedly, Daldry's finest work to date.
Now to the performances! Each and Every Actor shines in this all-starrer. Julianne Moore is like never before. She gets the most difficult character among all the other characters, and shines the brightest as well. Her performance in one word - legendary. Nicole Kidman is terrific, no doubts on that! But, it's even her complete make-up that helps her get into the skin the character. Meryl Streep, as always, is effective. Ed Harris proves his caliber as an actor, yet again! He appears only in 2-scenes, but he remains with you throughout, and even, after the show has concluded. Jeff Daniels in a cameo, is superb. Stephen Dillane as Kidman's husband, is very good. John C. Reilly is decent.
On the whole, A Must See Film! Amongst the Best Films of the early 2000's, or maybe, or all-times! Two Big Thumbs Up!
You may miss some of the nuances in this well-written film and after
seeing it a few times will appreciate the affect of Clarissa Vaughn
(perfectly portrayed by Streep) a woman at wits end though not sure,
what is to become of her friend Richard (Ed Harris) and what he is
intending after he wins the ultimate prize for his poetry.
The Julianne Moore character, a woman in the 1950's also at a loss when it comes to the existential meaning of her life. The scenes with her young son as he watches her make a birthday cake for Daddy are particularly effective and sad.
Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf, a woman before her time, talented and mentally frail, coming apart in her ordered world, controlled by the husband who publishes her books, he does all this for her, he says, but it seems a form of control nevertheless.
Each story has cadence and sadness for any woman, the stories in and of themselves are insightful and real. The music by Philip Glass is at times intrusive and just too much, we don't need the sound to punctuate the importance of each reflection of character.
Great story about three women in three different epochs. All of them are in desperate search for happiness, but steady visions of happiness do not give them pleasure so they are looking for the exit from the emotional crisis. The first one, famous writer, Virginia Wolf suffers because of the life on the village and misunderstand by her husband for her needs. The second one is Laura Brown, housewife who is unhappy despite living peaceful life with her husband and son. The third is a lesbian Clarissa that looks his best friend dieing from AIDS. And he was the only person she ever truly loved. My favorite movie. Masterpiece !!!
Such an intense movie... The characters in this story are so troubled.
They are at the same time very sympathetic because they're so human.
One can just feel and sense every word expressed... the atmosphere is
so splendidly intense.
When the characters speak, it's like every word is being absorbed by every pore. and like every sentence is stressed. It's hard to write about the particular atmosphere in the film, I can only say that you'll feel it, while you watch the movie yourself.
Julianne Moore just brings over the sorrow and troubled mood of her character so lively.
Anyway, I thought it was a real experience and not just a movie...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Three different women, a novelist, a publisher and a reader, each
living a lie, each putting someone else's life first.
"The Hours" portrays serenity, courage and wisdom; and goes further to question whether a human being has the right to choose death, the right to love what you have (or not to).
Daldry has given "The Hours" a universal appeal by not deciding that question for us. It is up to the viewer to decide that and like all great films "The Hours" allows each viewer to decide differently, based upon their own perception and experience.
Who do you live your life for?
Laura Brown (Moore) on why she abandoned her children: "What does it mean to regret when you have no choice? It's what you can bear. It was death and I chose life."
Virginia Woolf (Kidman) explaining why she's chosen to take her own life: "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 ... always the years between us, always the years, always the love, always the hours."
In "The Hours", Daldry has directed a classic as conflicting as life itself, with mesmeric performances from Streep, Kidman and Moore and beautiful music by Philip Glass.
The Hours is probably best classified as a serious, somewhat highbrow
and intellectual film, partly biography of the writer Virginia Woolf,
focusing on a period of her life and the turmoil she endured in writing
her book Mrs Dalloway, but also cleverly intertwining this with the
impact the story has on the lives of two other women in different
Woolf herself is played brilliantly and darkly by an almost unrecognisable Nicole Kidman, appearing dowdy unkempt and frail as befits a brilliant author on the edge of a nervous breakdown or worse.
The movie actually begins with Woolf's suicide in the Thames in 1943 but then backtracks to her wrestling with the writing of Mrs Dalloway in Richmond in 1921. Enter Julianne Moore playing a pregnant housewife in 1950s LA with a devoted husband and an intensely sad young son who anxiously observes his mother's own mental unravelling as she reads Mrs Dalloway. Meryl Streep plays a contemporary editor organising a party for her friend, ex lover and award wining poet Richard (a wonderful Ed Harris) who is terminally ill in the later stages of AIDs.
The story follows all three in their outwardly pleasant and successful lives, but it is the delving deeper into the pain and despair that plague all three that is the real focus of the film. The jumping back and over in time periods is a bit disconcerting initially and makes the movie a bit hard to follow and even lacking in continuity. However as it progresses the threads all start being drawn together and we are gradually introduced to the connections between the three women.
If one has the patience to persevere and not get irritated by the sometime delicate pace of the film, it is in the end a truly emotive and revealing experience with some brilliant insights on life and death and human relationships thrown in.
If you like thought provoking, fairly intense and artistically crafted films with some great performances you'll probably like this one but if you're looking for thrills spills and a fast pace avoid it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A story about a day in the life of three women in three different
generations- the 1920s, the 1950s, and the 2000s. Clarissa (2000s) is
planing a party for her sick friend Richard. Laura (1950s) is planning
a birthday party for her husband and Virgina (1920s) is planning to
have her sister visit. I didn't even recognize Nicole Kidman in her
role as Virgina because she looks so different.
The movie revolves around suicide, lesbianism and escape. There is powerful acting, it is an excellent drama plus,the soundtrack is fabulous and I love the music of Phillip Glass.
Spend a day in the life of these three women and face the hours of this movie!
I think that the movie "hours" was a fantastic approach to explain the unique character of Virginia Wolf along with the stories of the two other fantastic women. The acting of Nicole Kidman was touching and magnificent. The way she approached and bonded with Virginia Wolf was amazing and anyone who can see in depth in a movie can see that. Of course the other two actresses were fantastic as well because they influenced the plot and success of the movie also. At several parts of the movie you feel very sad because you understand what this writer is going through but the way it has been filmed and processed, makes you appreciate it even more.All i have to say is that it was an honor to see this movie.
"The Hours" is the magnificent adaptation to the big screen of Michael
Cunningham's Pulitzer-winning novel (my favourite book, by the way).
Three stories are told at once: Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman), is writing "Mrs. Dalloway", which would become her masterpiece, in Sussex, England, 1923; Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), a pregnant housewife, is reading "Mrs. Dalloway" and contemplating suicide, in Los Angeles, 1951; and Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep), is sort of a modern Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway in New York, 2001, preparing a party for an ex-lover and long-term friend, the poet Richard (Ed Harris), who's dying of AIDS.
"The Hours" is not an easy film. It is deep, sad, courageous and extremely poetic a real masterpiece. Stephen Daldry, who had just made his début with the lovely "Billy Elliot", did another perfectionist job with his brilliant cast: Nicole Kidman is fine in her complex composition of the remarkable Virginia Woolf (1882-1941). Meryl Streep (well, she IS Meryl Streep!), Ed Harris, Stephen Dillane, Allison Janney, Miranda Richardson, John C. Reilly, Toni Collette and even Claire Danes and the little boy Jack Rovello are memorable. Julianne Moore (I'll NEVER understand why she lost the Best Supporting Actress Oscar - category fraud aside, since she's just as lead as Nicole and Meryl - out to Catherine Zeta-Jones for her portrayal of a vaudeville diva in "Chicago"), on the other hand, is absolutely unforgettable as Laura Brown. She's not only the best of this amazing cast, but her performance is one of the best I've ever seen. Every time I re-watch "The Hours", I like it even more, and I always notice new subtle details in Moore's performance. The scene in which she cries silently in the bathroom is extraordinary, and if she had only that scene in the entire movie, she already deserved the Oscar nomination at least. Philip Glass' music score is wonderful and he also should've won the Oscar (instead of Elliot Goldenthal for "Frida"). David Hare's screenplay and Seamus McGarvey's cinematography are also perfect.
"The Hours" (which was supposed to be the original title of "Mrs. Dalloway") is the best of all the films of 2002 I've seen. It's a work of pure brilliance. The hours we lead every single day; every time we laugh, cry and find problems. The hours we have to bear. It's a story about daring, living our truth and facing the music. As I've said, it's not easy; but it's beautiful after all. Virginia Woolf would approve it. Carpe diem!
This movie does an exemplar job of analyzing the hours that mentally ill people spend, trying to grapple for some sense of control in the face of hell. Nothing on this earth compares to the detached feelings of depression, but this movie does an excellent job at demonstrating how different women cope differently. The moral---that they end up the same: dead--gives us a glimpse of the breathtaking enormity of mental illness (despite humans' best efforts to slay the beast). Today I put on my messenger notes that THE HOURS--the movie that encaptures my mood today. While not suicidal, I certainly have seen and am seeing the full spectrum of depression and the devastating hours that lie before you--the only thread between you and sanity.
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