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Delicate, poetic, and impactful. Stephen Daldry explores the life of the leads with such a careful and detailed touch, making it feel as if you were reading the book, providing a very vulnerable study of the characters involved while slowly but effectively fully connecting with its audience and giving them a lot to ponder on. The Hours treats its themes tenderly and with the respect it demands, showcasing scenarios with raw authenticity and emotions.
''You cannot find peace by avoiding life''
It is the moments when we get to see this characters show their vulnerability that the movie loudly gets its message across, it is when they are alone and transmit their feelings and thoughts, it is the intimacy, and as I said, the raw authenticity this radiates that make this film so emotionally impactful while all these incredible women give their all with such great performances, enhancing everything to another level. In conclusion, even if it leaves a bittersweet and melancholic feel -in a good way- The Hours is still a really rewarding experience that for sure will leave you feeling some type of way.
People tend to hate this sort of Oscar baity film that has an air of tastefulness that can sometimes be stifling but I think this actually a good example of the genre as much as I abhor The Reader (2008) and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011), director Stephen Daldry's other successes. What buoys the film, which admittedly goes over material better examined in other films, is the power of it's performances as few films are able to bring together talents like Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore and give them both ample opportunity to shine. No, I don't think that Nicole Kidman is fantastic in this film and I am confused by her Academy Award win but I do personally believe that this was the best of the films nominated for Best Picture in 2002.
The film follows three different women living in the 1920s, 1950s and 2000s as we see how social values have changed and while women's freedom is still partially restricted they have more opportunities. In 1921, Virginia Woolf, Nicole Kidman, is writing Mrs. Dalloway while feuding with her housekeepers and struggling to ward off depression while her long suffering husband, Leonard, Stephen Dillane, attempts to reach out to her before her tragic suicide. In 1951, repressed housewife Laura Brown, Julianne Moore, is feeling increasingly isolated from her husband Dan, John C. Reilly, due to the restrictions of their lifestyle and her lesbianism. She abandons her son for a day to try and find herself but later returns to her family despite feeling trapped. Finally, in 2001 the fastidious Clarissa Vaughn, Meryl Streep, is seen planning a party for her friend and the man she pines after, Richard, Ed Harris, who is suffering from AIDS and is frustrated by her continuous devotion to him despite his indifference. Eventually two of the three are able to reconcile their problems and discover the joy of living life.
By far the most interesting storyline in the film was the one that followed Meryl Streep as it presented something that felt newer and more exciting than the other two storylines. The scenes in which she interacts with a man who she loves hopelessly, who is aware of her endless devotion and in many ways resents her for it, are horribly touching as we see a woman who is so capable and intelligent give herself to a person who will never fulfill her. Part of this, of course, is that Streep is the best of the three lead actresses as she brings all of the Streep-y loveliness that she gave to The Deer Hunter (1978) and Ironweed (1987) while also being utterly captivating simply having a breakdown in the middle of her living room. I was totally engaged throughout her story even as it took odd turns and I would have liked to have spent more time with her time as she simply goes about her day while still carrying these weights with her.
When she describes the experience of falling totally and irrevocably in love with Ed Harris as she saw him on the beach at age eighteen I felt a strong rush of emotion that I did not expect to feel during a film that looked so stuffy. His later recount of the events of that day only add to the emotional impact of the moment as we see how this relationship has shaped the lives of two very different people who rely on one another in a strange way. This moment worked better than Kidman's final reading of her love letter to her husband or Moore's discussion with Streep at the end of the film.
As previously stated I think that of all of the actresses in the film Streep is giving the best performance and while I think the other two performers give decent turns as characters who could have been conventional cut outs they are overshadowed. That is what it makes it so odd that Kidman won the Academy Award for Best Actress when she isn't even giving the best performance in her own film. It's not that I do not like the performance, she is very good at putting on the accent and appearing aggrieved, but I don't think it allows her to show much range and she has given much better performances in Eyes Wide Shut (1999) and Rabbit Hole (2010). Personally I would have given Best Actress that year to Julianne Moore in Far from Heaven (2002) who is absolutely sublime.
The best, GREATEST movie ever made! With the best movie score ever composed!
It is boring and it starts in a confusing and slowly way, but Nicole Kidman performances and some twists are enough to make it worthy to watch.
a BEAUTIFUL piece of ART!
Before watching it everyone referred to this movie by saying "the one were the made Kidman ugly". Yes, I agree that it's a very difficult task by itself, but now that I finally saw "The Hours" I am happy to say that is way more then that. Last movie I (tried to) watch is "The greatest showman", so the first thing that I took away from this great movie is the music. By contrast I guess. Philip Glass made a great score that is important in all the film, but especially at the beginning when we start to know the characters. The the story takes off and the amazing trio deliver what is very simply called "Great Acting". Nothing to argue there. What the movie does best is to approach very difficult and important themes without jumping at them, but dancing with them. I won't say much else because I like my reviews short and I don't want to spoil anything. But if this movie is in your want to see list, just don't lose more time, and if it's not, add it!
great movie about depression,nicole kidman give performance of a lifetime
Pretty decent movie! The acting was great, the soundtrack was good, and the story went along well. But, it was a bit confusing, and I couldn't tell what lessons the movie was trying to evoke.
- Three stunning performances intertwined in The Hours -
To say that I loved The Hours the first time I watched it would be a lie. I saw it when I was 14-years-old and I didn't understand it at all. My pubescent brain couldn't quite grasp the effects of depression, the effects of sacrifice and above all else, what "happiness" truly means.
It would be another ten years before I began to understand the film's significance. I was floored by its honesty and transparency of the human condition. I was so deeply affected by it that I had "always the hours" tattooed on my ribs.
So let me try to explain why, at the age of 24, I walked into a tattoo parlor with my best friend, and said "ink this quote on me kind sir."
The Hours, starring Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge) and Meryl Streep (Sophie's Choice) focuses on the lives of three women in three different decades, in a single day of their lives. In that one day, their lives become clear to them, in the most devastating ways.
Virginia Woolf played by Kidman is writing Mrs Dalloway. Laura Brown played by Moore is a 1950s housewife reading Mrs Dalloway and Clarissa Vaughn played by Streep, is playing out the role of Mrs. Dalloway.
Each is teetering on the edge of depression with suicide affecting them all. As the hours tick by, they each become increasingly weighed down by the idea of what their lives should be. Their longing to make their lives more meaningful is heart-breaking and frustrating. Frustrating because they can't find the happiness that they are looking for.
Director, Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) beautifully dissects each of the women's separate struggles but links them together through brilliant editing. Virginia, Laura and Clarissa are all fighting the same battle in their own decades. It gives an overwhelming feeling of universality that reaches across time.
So the burning question - out of all the quotes in all the films in the entire world, why did I choose a quote from The Hours?
Well, it shouldn't be a spoiler to know that Virginia Woolf kills herself. In the movie her death plays out at the beginning and end of the film. Her suicide letter is narrated over the final scenes.
"Dear Leonard. To look life in the face. Always look life in the face. And to know it for what it is. At last to know it. To love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. Leonard. Always the years between us. Always the years. Always the love. Always the hours."
This single quote made me live my life differently. I was no longer longing to be in a "state of happiness". Instead, I was stopping to enjoy a moment of happiness, whenever it came along. By examining the lives of three different women and the hours in their day, the film transpired to find the meaning of life.
And for me, that meaning, is in the details. It is in the hours of the day. The hours I spend doing what I love. The hours I spend in pain. My day is not constant. It is fluid. It is forever changing. It is separated into moments and those moments make my life worth living. That is what this film does. It makes you look at your own life, for exactly what it is.
This stunning film made me want to write about it. I quit P.E School at University, and studied film instead. This film made me become a writer. And here I am, writing about film.
This is the life I have chosen. This is what I choose to do with my hours. What do you choose to do with yours?
This review was first published on Narrative Muse, http://www.narrativemuse.co/movies/the-hours, and was written Jules Raynes. Narrative Muse curates the best books and movies by and about women and non-binary folk on our website http://narrativemuse.co and our social media channels.
You know whats depressing? Watching three suicidal women who dont do much to open up and express their pain, but bottle it until theyre ready to burst. Thats what The Hours is, just a series of scenes where we see women who are barely holding on (and a really terrible nose prosthetic.) I dont want to diminish what this movie is depicting because I know, from experience, that this is real life for many women. However, this isnt something I enjoy or find value in watching as a film. If it explored more of the reasons why these women were experiencing the dissatisfaction with life it might have meant more to me, but instead it wallows in their sorrow. The sad truth is that I kept expecting revelation. I anticipated a big moment where emotions would be poured out, and secrets would be expressed, and I would feel like there was a purpose to this whole thing. But it never came. The resolution of the story for all three characters was frustrating, and I felt utterly empty by the end of the film. The use of Mrs. Dalloway as the connecting thread was a strange idea, but it might have been more effective for me if I was familiar with the book. There is some good acting in the film, I was particularly impressed with the scenes between Meryl Streep and Ed Harris. I also must say, The Hours is effective at evoking an atmosphere and telling an engaging series of stories intercut with one another. Yet it is not a film I could ever see myself recommending to someone else because it is so deeply sad and hard to watch.