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The Hours (2002)
An Unflinching & Realistic Look at Mental Illness
This movie is amazing in many ways. The most exceptional is Kidman's dead-on portrayal of Virginia Woolf, a woman I have spent many years researching, both on an academic level and then a personal one. Having Bipolar Disorder, as Woolf did, I was extremely sceptical of Kidman's ability to embody the day-to-day struggle of manic-depression. She was phenomenal, as were the other cast members. Moore shines as a woman wrestling with depression, and Streep is, as usual, utterly convincing. I loved this movie, particularly a scene between Woolf and her husband at the train station. This exchange was like seeing my own life on the screen, done with compassion as well as utter brutality. Unlike other movies that deal with mental illness, for example, Girl, Interrupted, the characters never had to truly "go off the deep end" to convey the debilitation of depression. This movie can, however, be unsettling for those who have been in similar situations. If the true intent of an excellent drama is to make the audience feel, then The Hours deserves any and all awards it receives.