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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.
I can see why this movie may not be liked by many. It's very sad. It
has no 'movieistic' plot. Honestly, I had few expectations when I
started watching it, having already been warned against it by a
reliable source. And yet, I ended up liking it.
The Hours feels like an expression of honesty - a continuing thought sprung from some pain or grief or sadness in the life of the author, bundled together with the story of another author, one who reads her works, and one who seems to live the life of one of the characters.
The Hours brought tears to my eyes more than once. It depicted the situation of people wandering near the brink of depression, and some crossing it - to that part of the mind where so much seems to weigh us down - an unconscious pain to which, in my opinion, the most basic solution is to turn to God and sprituality. We all face moments of helplessness, and that is the time we need to put our problems in the hands of God and ask for His help.
The ways in which the characters deal with such depression varies in degrees. Some lines in the movie are particularly thought-provoking, lines like "why does someone have to die? Ans: So that others value life more"... or something like that.
Basically I suppose it depicts three women in different circumstances but similar states of mind: One woman (Virginia Woolf) needs something from life which she feels she cannot get. She seems to feel trapped and inhibited and is troubled by it. Another (Laura Brown) needs something from life, and she feels like her situation is not conducive to getting it. A third woman (Clarissa Vaughn) seems to need something and is conducting her life as though to make up for it's lack.
It's an interesting point that I noticed: the helplessness level seems to reduce over the years.
There is another 'victim' of the story. His involvement is strange, but he stands to complete the connectivity in the story.
I feel The Hours was a powerful contribution to acting. Each actor did a terrific job and Nicole Kidman was unrecognizable - hats off to the make-up artists!
I repeat, many may not like this movie. But I feel that it needs a deeper level of thinking than many are willing to do. A must watch for those who wish to think deeply to understand another aspect of human nature. A must-not for those who want pure entertainment.
3 women, 3 different times, 3 different stories, one film. Nicole Kidman plays Virginia Wolf while writing Mrs. Dalloway, and how her life is filled with melancholy, loneliness and suppression. Julianne Moore plays Laura Brown, a woman living if the 50's who is reading the book and has with a life so depressing, (even though she has everything, and last but not least Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) a woman leaving in the actuality, preparing a party for her friend, a poet (brilliant ed Harris) dying with AIDS. Those three stories deal with suicide, love, sexuality, sadness and loneliness. A melancholic story based on the novel by Michael Cunningham and directed by Stephen Daldry, this film is exquisite. It's a slow, melancholic film, reflective, with great performance (probably the best is Julianne Moore), exquisite music and a great script (adapted). I found this piece to be a reflective story about life, and what is behind loneliness, sadness and happiness. This acclaimed piece of art got 9-academy award nomination. I at lest deserved Best actress (Nicole Kidman), Best actress in a supporting role (Julianne Moore) and best-adapted screenplay. 9.12/10.00
Of the 5 best picture nominated movies at The Oscars, The Hours was the most deserving. Stephen Daldry should've won best director just for making an incredibly difficult concept work. Daldry has proven with this and Billy Elliot that he can make original movies that can't be compared to anything else. He builds the story and tension like someone who's been making movies for decades. I was shocked at how tense I was when watching this. During all the scenes with tension, Daldry did something so unusual. He built tension based on unimportant background noise. Cracking of eggs, a printing press slamming, chopping on a cutting board. This trick works so well. I am surprised that Nicole Kidman got the Oscar for lead actress when there are 3 lead roles. What makes this even more confusing is that Kidman probably had less screentime and dialogue than Moore and Streep. As for the performances, I thought all 3 deserved to be nominated, but Julianne Moore's more subtle performance was more intriguing to me. Phillip Glass' music is a little too overpowering at times, but it definitely qualifies as some of the best music I've heard in a long time. I appreciate that Glass didn't write separate themes for each character. Using the same theme throughout works because this is a movie where you have 3 totally different stories, that are connected by similar events and story themes being used. The Hours is unique and fascinating during every moment. This was one of the first times I've seen a movie and been literally captivated every second. Thank you to Stephen Daldry for making one of the only movies this decade that deserves to be reffered to as a masterpiece.
When I've watched the film, i noticed that Ms. Nicole Kidman had only just a 20 or 30-minute appearance in the film? But despite that, she's the only one in the film who gave such an impressive impact, i didn't notice the ala-Grace kelly acting of Kidman. She totally disappeared from the character and that's what makes an actor BEST. I could not think of any one who could have done the same performance as that of Nicole's. I mean, the eyes, the execution of the body, the walk, the words are well spoken, and......... uhmmmmmmm.... the NOSE. But Nicole won an Oscar, not because of the nose but because she's overdue at the time of the release of the film. Julianne Moore should have won over Ms. Zeta-Jones. Moore is so poweful in the film. As to Ms. Streep, nothing's new. She did great as always but admit it, kinda boring.
I had been told that if I wanted to see acting, I should see The Hours.
How true. The acting in this movie is absolutely astonishing. Nicole Kidman does an absolutely amazing job at portraying Virginia Woolf. Every quirk was perfected. I really don't have adequate words to describe her.
Meryl Streep was breath-taking as usual. A seemless performance.
Ed Harris blew me away. Even though his screen time was short, it was sweet. Or bitter, if you will. I had no idea he was up for that caliber of performance, but he brought tears to my eyes and opened new paths in my mind simultaneously.
Even the little kid - I thought he did a really good job. And not just a good job for a little kid- I mean he was really, really good.
The acting in this movie was about the best I've seen for years. Too bad it takes more than acting to make a good film.
To accomodate such a talented cast, there needs to be an equally compelling story. Unfortunately, this was not the case with The Hours. The whole movie was spent showing the connections between the three time periods. As long as it was, it did what could/should have been done in an introduction.
And no- I'm not missing the whole point. I understand the theme of "the hours". I understand that the pace was part of the artistic direction. I understand the point that was trying to be made - I just thought that a poor job was done at making it.
And I could nitpick forever on the AWFUL continuity problems throughout the whole film. There's too many to list.
Finally- there was no flow. No touch of reality. All the actors' performances seemed like they were shot seperately and then pasted together.
I know that when working with actors, you do whatever it takes to get a certain performance - but you can't forget that they are only secondary. The actor is just a tool used to create something much larger - much more profound.
So to wrap it up - The Hours is an acting show. not a movie. It ended up being a cheap chick flick for art students. Art students who need to drop whatever it is they're nailing to a tree in central park and go see a good jewel heist movie.
anyway- that's my two cents.
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