The Hours - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hours Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ July 15, 2007
Really fine acting from all but how could the academy justify giving Kidman a Best Actress Oscar for her contribution here. At best she's supporting and both Streep and Moore are better than she is.
Super Reviewer
½ August 4, 2010
They called the book "The Hours" by Michael Cunningham unfilmable, but taking a lot of risks adapter David Hare found this to be easily filmed, almost tailor made. Director Stephen Daldry must have agreed, because what we see on screen is a fluid, memorable, and overwhelmingly circular thread. Three stories, in three time periods, are linked by the book "Mrs. Dalloway" which is about a vapid woman planning a party, which she is trying to use to curtail her own insecurities and depression. Three women are represented in this film, most memorable being Nicole Kidman as author Virginia Woolf, who actually wrote the book. Kidman won Best Actress at the 2003 Academy Awards for her portrayal, and what an amazing one at that. Woolf comes off as so bleak, spirited, and blighted by her time in the country, but it's of course much more about her depression and the lengths that her overprotective husband goes through to keep her alive. In the fifties, housewife Laura Brown (Moore) scuttles through life, trying to please her family, and in the present Clarissa tries to plan a gathering for a friend who is on his last legs. Every story is linked in obvious ways, whether it is that they're planning a party to hide their shame, copious guilt, or ultimatums, the difficulties of their sexuality, or the chain that binds them. It's also good to note that these three women denote different stages in a strange chain as well. While one is the creator of Mrs. Dalloway, another is a seminal example of Mrs. Dalloway, and yet another story deals with the aftermath of Mrs. Dalloway's actions. It all shows the plight of women, trapped in their little bubbles, and the ways they claw their way back to life, lest it kill them in the process. All the performances are very strong and memorable, Kidman's being the shortest and yet the most interesting. This film boasts a very impressive and large cast, and I was happy to see names such as Miranda Richardson, John C. Reilly, and Toni Collette in the credits. The only section that I felt wasn't particularly interesting was Laura Brown's. Hers is about her life as a housewife in the fifties, and though I understand she is shy and reserved, she comes off as strangely maddened and yet we see none of what it does to her. She runs from her problems, but we don't get to see the impact or any agency until the end. During the scenes she comes off as ineffectual and limp. While this is impactful by the end, it just dragged the longer Moore was onscreen. There is intrinsic value to this film, and it does floor me to see the connections between these three women onscreen when everything possible is said and done.
Super Reviewer
½ May 12, 2011
Adapted from a seemingly 'unfilmable' novel, this this the story of three women from three different time periods who are all connected in some way to Virginia's Woolf's novel Mrs. Dalloway.

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.
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2009
"The Hours, is a sad depressing film. Besides that though, very good. It is filled with top notch actresses and a few brilliant actors too.
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."
Super Reviewer
½ July 29, 2012
Great actings in a sentimental, but nice picture.
Super Reviewer
½ July 18, 2007
I had this for months and wouldn't watch it, afraid of what it might say while unclear as to what that might be. Well, its about living a life of quiet, inexpressible desperation. Yes, there are bits of feminist posturing done, all for one and one for all, "we are all brothers, er, sisters united", but the hefty chunk is about finding reason to persevere. Multilayered, extremely well written and performed, music by Phillip Glass, and class. I should've watched it before.
Super Reviewer
November 10, 2007
The movie spans different times, following the lives of three women. Nicole Kidman plays Virginia Wolfe, quite unrecognisably.
Super Reviewer
½ August 20, 2011
The two hours it took to watch this astounding film, I was completely enraptured by the three stories in three different times which were seemingly unconnected but became beautifully interwoven near the end of the film, and by the powerful and impressive acting on display by the three leads Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep. Don't miss this film. The Hours will not be wasted.
Super Reviewer
½ May 29, 2011
For lack of a better phrase, The Hours is about Life. Of course life is one complex beast, full of contradictions and cross purposes; and really, when you think on it, life is about love - or the lack thereof (and since love is equally hard to pin down, one can see why life is often such a jumble).

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.
Super Reviewer
½ July 16, 2007
A heavy (very heavy) but contained drama, The Hours is an acting tour de force. Nicole Kidman excels in her career-defining portrayal of Virginia Woolf and Meryl Streep does not disappoint (she never does, obviously). Proof that Julianne Moore is at her best when she's subtle (I still have an issue with the way she cries, though). Toni Collette and Ed Harris are also noteworthy. The score by Philip Glass is the perfect complement for this subtle, austere drama.
Super Reviewer
November 27, 2010
Absolutely fantastic! Watching The Hours was such a wonderful experience; it was one of those times where I felt like I experienced something unreal. I've seen a decent amount of movies, some good, some bad, but one of the things I love about watching films is that every once in a while you view something that completely takes you away, and surprises you like you never thought. It's usually impossible to describe why, but is powerful. The Hours is an incredible masterpiece!

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!
Super Reviewer
January 31, 2011
"The Hours" is an emotional sucker punch and an acting showcase unlike any other. Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep are three of the best actresses from this generation and this picture proves it in spades. It's beautiful, lyrical, and transporting.
Super Reviewer
½ February 2, 2008
Watched this based solely on a friend's recommendation and I loved it!
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2006
This may very well become one of my favourite films after watching it the other night.The running time flew by very quickly. There is something incredibly powerful in this film that you just can't take your eyes off. Contains some of the best acting in cinema you're ever likely to see and a brilliant soundtrack. Just a perfect film for me.
Super Reviewer
November 30, 2009
Every once in a while you stumble unto something completely breathtaking, something that is the complete epitome of everything you admire. For me, this happened with The Hours. I picked up the book and read it a couple months ago, and that was just because I had nothing else too read. But, its absolutely amazing! I was kind of digusted with myself for not reading it sooner. The same thing happened again with the movie. The only thing I had every heard about it was that Nicole Kidman was in it, and had won an Oscar for her performance. Once again, I cannot believe that you do not see or here more! It is one of the most impressive and captivating things I've seen in ages. Its completely appealing in just about every way possible. The story is deadman, haunting, and emotional. It beautiful and stylish visually. Its even pleasent to the ears. The script is lyrical and poetic and the cast all give marvelous performances. The score is great on its own, but it also matches the movie wonderfully. Ironically, the storyline about Virginia Woolf was my favorite in the film, while it was the only one I found to drag a bit in the book. I honestly do not have a single complaint with this movie. Its spellbinding and masterfull, hands down a complete masterpiece all around.
Super Reviewer
½ July 25, 2009
with all the kissing that was NOT nessisary, and some confusion this was not the best movie that ive ever seen. Nicole Kidman almost scared me she was so not herself, especially with that nose!

I accually thought that ED HARRIS was the best in this movie!
Super Reviewer
March 30, 2009
"Three Different Women. Each Living a Lie."

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.
Super Reviewer
September 19, 2008
Fantastic and beautiful film. Everyone is spot on. Very lovely ensemble, emotional piece that is presented more as a stage play, which it benefits highly from.
Super Reviewer
October 11, 2007
Had no idea what it was about when I got it, I just wanted to see Nichol Kidman's big nose. Pretty much the idea is that being a woman sucks, and you can either kill yourself, run away from everything or stick with it to the end. Not a bad idea, but not entertaining either. P.S. how the heck did Kidman get an academy award for this when she had about ten minutes of dialog in it.
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