1923, acclaimed writer Virginia Woolf (Kidman) is battling against mental
illness and writer's block as she tries to finish her novel, Mrs Dalloway.
In 1951, housewife Laura Brown (Moore) is reading that same book but is
realising that she is not happy with her life. In 2001, Clarissa Vaughan
(Streep) is having trouble coming to terms with the fact that her life will
be empty without Richard (Harris), as he is slowly dying from Aids.
Adapted from the Pulitzer Winning novel by Michael Cunningham,
The Hours intermixes the stories of three women, all connected to the novel
Mrs Dalloway. The problem is that none of the stories are very interesting.
You cannot argue that the acting and directing for this film
are superb. Stephen Daldry interweaves the three stories marvellously and
along with Phillip Glass's haunting score, he gives each story a unique
style. The three lead actresses throw their hearts and souls into their
characters and all turn in career defining moments (especially a barely
recognisable Kidman). The supporting case is also top notch but it is the
story however which lets everything down and this major fault has to go
back to the novel itself.
Each of the three stories is very depressing and only snapshots
of these characters lives. None of the back-stories to how the events came
into being are explored. Why is Laura Brown suicidal, when she has a husband
and son who adore her? What is the intense connection between Clarissa and
Richard (a very good Ed Harris)? Only Virginia Woolf's story has any kind
of explanation and that is only revealed in an excellent confrontation scene
between her and her husband, Leonard (played by Stephen Dillane) towards
the end of the film. The plot seems just an excuse of excessive melodrama
and a chance to say that women are emotional time bombs waiting to explode
and take everyone with them.
This is another movie made just to win awards. A lot of critics
feel that they have to love this because of the quality of the acting and
direction. All these positives do not a good or interesting movie make,
as The Hours is a depressing and boring snapshot of three women's overly
dramatic take on life. You'll be counting the minutes never mind The Hours
until it finally ends.
Commentary by Meryl Streep, Julianne
Moore and Nicole Kidman, Commentary by director Stephen Daldry and novelist
Michael Cunningham, Filmmakers introduction, 4 featurettes & Theatrical
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