The Hours Reviews
Those ladies are: Virginia Woolfe herself, working on the novel in 1923, 1950s California housewife Laura Brown who is enamored by the book, and Clarissa Vaughn- a New Yorker planning a party in 2001, who is basically the embodiment of the novel's title character.
What I liked about the film is the structure. Aside from the opening and closing scenes which bookend things, the movie takes place in a single day in each of the time periods, alternating back and forth between them. Also, there's a lot of parallel action and matching cutting going on to link all the stories with one another, one example being each lady waking up at roughly around the same time.
Thematically, this film is all about depression, loss, suicide, and some LGBT leanings. It's not an easy film to watch, and it sure isn't uplifting, but it is fairly compelling. That said, the film is rather slow, and, while it is interesting, it's didn't grab me as much as it probably should have, or as much as I thought it might. I wasn't totally bored, but I wasn't mesmerized, either.
We do get a strong cast here, populated by the likes of Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, Ed Harris, Claire Danes, Jeff Daniels, John C. Reilly, Toni Collette, and Allison Janney among others, and, as you'd expect, they deliver when it comes to the acting. Kidman was the only one who actually walked away with an award, and she is really good as Woolf, but I personally really liked Moore. Of the men, Reilly was probably my favorite, although Jeff Daniels fares pretty well, too.
The film is shot fairly decently, and the score by Phillip Glass, despite being characteristically repetitive, is quite good and very fitting.
In the end, the film is overrated and kind of a drag, but the set up is intriguing, and the performances are what ultimately save it, so, even though it will depress the dickens out of you, consider giving it a watch.
The movie ties together each story and character quite well. The script is deep and the performances powerful. I was really impressed with the movie. I want to read the book now. It's a very honest look at depression and the effects it has on not only on the person suffering from it, but also on those who are close to them. If you haven't had a chance to see this, then do so."
The Hours is full of people doing the "right thing" for the wrong reasons, with people doing harm by trying to be protective. In the end we all must question why we do what we do, whether it be for selfish reasons or simply our innate desire to connect with someone or to stand for something. I don't want stray too much into the why's or wherefores of The Hours, as I urge you to let the intertwining stories unfold before you, but I will say this - it is beautifully filmed, wonderfully encapsulating the three periods involved; the 20's, 50's and new millennium.
At the core of the film you have three actresses all at the top of their game. Nichole Kidman as Virginia Woolf (and I hope I needn't say more about the writer... but even if you have no idea, the film does a wonderful job of filling in the backstory). Moving to the 50's you have Juliane Moore as a typical housewife (although one who seems disconnected with her time and place (think Betty Draper in Mad Men if you will) - knowing that there is a deep well of dissatisfaction within her that goes contrary to the American Dream, but not understanding why. She has a young son with another on the way, and yet, while she loves her son, she looks at him as if he's some biological specimen under a microscope - not truly engaged or attached.
Finally, in the "present" you have Meryl Streep, who is cohabitating with Allison Janney while caring for her former lover, Ed Harris, who is dying of AIDS. An interesting triangle, and while Streep is her usual wonderful self, Harris steals the film. His character is a poet who also wrote a complex novel about life, love and observations. The connections between he and Woolf are subtle but equally as important as those between Woolf, Moore and Streep.
In lesser hands the film might simply be as I have presented it, but Stephen Daldry gives us so much nuance (which I'm assuming was in the original novel, since it was a Pulitzer winner), that the film is much more than the sum of its plot points. The attention to detail is wonderful and even some of the smaller, supporting roles seem to be full blown characters in their own right (particularly those of Leonard Woolf (Stephen Dillane) and a neighbor of Moore's, wonderfully played by Toni Collette).
There is a revelation that comes about 3/4 through the film, and I'm not revealing it here. I didn't see it coming and it was one of those wonderful moments that enlightens and gives a different spin on everything you've seen before it without seeming false or pretentious. This is a masterfully done film in both style and substance, with top shelf actors giving oscar worthy performances (with Kidman receiving one), ensconced in a wonderfully literate screenplay and a moving and haunting score by Phillip Glass.
Everything about the film is excellent, bpecial mention has to go to the acting...The Hours is one of the absolute best displays of acting performances, ever...hands down. Nicole Kidman is stunning, Meryl Streep is perfect as usual, and Julianne Moore gives one of the best female peformances of all time. The three main actresses completely blew me away. The supporting cast was perfect also, not just very good, perfect. Toni Collete, Claire Danes, Jeff Daniels, Stephen Dillane, Allison Janney...they all are fantastic here, even when they may only have had a 5 or 6 minute scene. Ed Harris stands out as one of the strongest of the supporting cast!
Also, the musical score by Phillip Glass is one of the best I have ever heard. It took the emotion to a whole other level.
I recommend going into this film knowing as little about it as possible. I think it makes the experience so much stronger.
The Hours is an incredible movie experience. I recommend it entirely!
I accually thought that ED HARRIS was the best in this movie!
The story of how the novel "Mrs. Dalloway" affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.
There is no greater homage to an author than to write in his style, to use his motifs and to further refine his ideas. One may continue to exploit the material, and then out of a great book comes a great film. Such is the case here: the characters of Virginia Woolf's novel are wonderfully twisted and spread over three different stories, proving their obsessions to be ever meaningful. I strongly recommend reading the book before seeing the movie, it sheds light on all of its little subtleties. The three women are played masterly by the leading actresses, with particular attention to details and mimicry. Their reactions are brilliantly captured on film, in a slow, lingering, sometimes broken fashion. This stresses the importance of little gestures and every-day actions, just as Woolf intended it. A woman's life in a day, and very good directing. A film pour les connoisseurs.