The Hours (2002) is a English movie. Stephen Daldry has directed this movie. Meryl Streep,Nicole Kidman,Julianne Moore,Stephen Dillane are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2002. The Hours (2002) is considered one of the best Drama,Romance movie in India and around the world.
In 1951, Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), a pregnant housewife, is planning a party for her husband, but she can't stop reading the novel "Mrs. Dalloway". Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep), a modern woman living in present times is throwing a party for her friend Richard (Ed Harris), a famous author dying of A.I.D.S. These two stories are simultaneously linked to the work and life of Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman), who's writing the novel mentioned before.
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I know a lot of people criticized this film for various reasons but please do yourself a favor and do not listen to any of it. This movie touches on subjects that deeply affect those who either have struggled with mental illness or have a loved one who has. Everything about this movie resonates with me in a very deep way. When the book was getting popular before this film was ever created I went and bought it and read it. I realized about midway through that this was a book that would probably haunt me the rest of my life. I think I see much of myself in each of these women. Virginia Woolf, creative and thoughtful, deeply depressed and almost comforted by the idea of death. Laura Brown, trapped and terrified of her own existence. Clarissa Vauhn, always looking for a trivial distraction, a quiet storm brewing underneath the surface. Everyone questions the meaning of life and the value of life. Everyone thinks about happiness, and remembers the moment they were happiest. These are all mortal realities. Thoughts that plague even the strongest of individuals. Suicide sometimes seems like an inevitable fate, and even a comforting solution. The moment when you meet Laura Brown at the end of the film as an old woman, you think she is going to be this broken and sad person full of regrets but she isn't. You realize that out of all three women she was the one that ultimately chose life. After speaking with Clarissa, you can tell that Clarissa finally understands that sometimes regret is just a word that means nothing. How can you regret when you didn't have a choice? It was either death or leave. Many times in my life I have felt this way. I have left my hometown without saying goodbye to anyone and moved three thousand miles away. I felt trapped, suffocated and very dangerously depressed. When I got to my final destination I felt so free. I could write for days about this movie and it wouldn't do this film justice. If you are a woman and you struggle with mental illness do yourself a favor and watch The Hours. It will give you perspective and comfort. Life isn't always beautiful and sometimes someone has to die to create contrast so that the rest of us value life. It humbles us to see someone take their own life, it makes us squeeze our children a little tighter, makes us sing a little louder, makes us love a little deeper. When Richard dies at the end of the film, you think Clarissa will fall apart and when she doesn't, and you watch this woman in shock somehow come back to life you realize that this man has been holding her back from really enjoying life. His sadness was almost an anchor for her and when he disappears it almost releases her from this darkness that surrounded him. You realize that he really was only sticking around for her. She watches him jump and it's almost like a relief to her. The darkness goes with him. One of the best scenes of the film is almost at the very end. Meryl Streep so passionately kisses her partner. It's beautiful. You can tell she is choosing life. She wants to feel that happiness she once felt again. This movie changed my life. I will never be the same.
"The Hours" more than lives up to its critical praise. If nothing else it is a must see for the originality of the technique. The film (and the book by Michael Cunningham) is structured around the process of linking up three stories set at different points in time. Each story concerns a woman trying to define herself, to identify what she needs, and to find a way to get it. The 1920's story concerns Virginia Woolf's (Kidman) efforts to write her first successful novel, "Mrs. Dallaway"; which is the story of one day in the life of a woman named Clarissa Dallaway. The story set in the early 1950's concerns Laura Brown (Moore), a woman who is reading "Mrs. Dallaway". Finally the contemporary story concerns Clarissa Vaughn (Streep) who is essentially living Mrs. Dallaway's life in modern NYC. All three performances are extraordinary in their own unique ways and there are wonderful performances from all members of the supporting cast. It is as if each member of the ensemble brought out the best in each other. Some interesting and not always obvious things to look for as you watch "The Hours" are: Each story begins with the husband/lover of each woman leading the camera to the woman. All three women are found in bed and this begins a match cut process that will repeat itself throughout the film as the director and editor work to connect and unify the three separate stories. Woolf writes: "Mrs. Dallaway said she would buy the flowers herself" just as Laura Brown reads that sentence and Clarissa speaks that sentence. Kidman's Woolf is an amazing character. She is a psychological mess, making life difficult for those around her and full of torment and despair. Yet she has a subtle charm that helps you to understand why people found her fascinating. Like "The Big Chill", this is an ambitious character study film with many characters. By necessity, both films rely more on behavioral language than dialogue in revealing the personality of its characters. Note Laura Brown's (Moore) neatness obsession as she readies her house and herself prior to leaving for the hotel. Woolf began the book "Mrs. Dallaway" with the intention of basing it on a society woman she knew who unexpectedly committed suicide. Brown describes the book to her neighbor as: "Oh, it's about this woman who's incredibly - well, she's a hostess and she's incredibly confident and she's going to give a party. And, maybe because she's confident, everyone thinks she's fine... but she isn't". At its core this is a movie about art but it is a broad definition of art, writing a book-baking a cake-giving a party. Each woman/artist is driven and frustrated by a need for unattainable perfection. There is a touch of irony to each situation. For example, Laura Brown is where she is because her husband has pulled her into the great American dream without realizing that it was the worse thing he could do to her. Although all three women love their children/child/niece, those relationships do not give them what they need. There is a visitor and a kiss in each story central to the self-definition process each woman is going through. Virginia kisses her sister Vanessa (brilliantly played by Miranda Richardson who looks amazingly like she could have been Kidman's sister), desperately trying to force a better connection with her. Vanessa understands this, she is not shocked by the kiss but by the implication that her sister needs this so desperately. Sophie Wyburd who plays Virginia's young niece was obviously cast for her haunting voice and her ability to display such a focused intensity. Each woman has a child picking up on their needs, which the adults around them do not seem to be aware of. Watch the scene where Laura's husband is urging her to come to bed. Moore's voice does not betray the revulsion or the internal struggle which only viewers can see on her face. In fact at this point each woman's partner is urging her to go to bed but each must first a make choice. Then watch for the great match cut, Virginia announces that she has decided that the poet will die in her novel and they cut to little Richard lying in his bed. Moore's expression finally tells us that she has decided to leave her family. Streep's kiss signifies her recognition of the preciousness of what she still has in her life and her choice to embrace it and move forward. Ultimately this film is about the increasing difficulty we have as we get older in making choices. This is because as we discover who we are, we also experience loss and accumulate grief over the course of our lives, making us ever more aware of the cost of our choices. Like the Moonlight Graham character in "Field of Dreams" (who assumed he would have more than one major league at bat), Clarissa looks back on a short moment that she thought was the beginning of happiness and realizes that it was her only moment of actual happiness. There are some criticisms of this film. That it is not political enough but rather is for the elite and about the elite, or conversely that it is condescending to the masses with too obvious a message told in an unnecessarily simplistic way, and finally that it is a success of structure rather than ideas. Whatever the validity of these issues, the very fact that discussions are at this elevated level is the best testimonial the film could have. My only criticism was a production design issue, young Richard gets his Lincoln logs out of a Erector Set box.
The first thing that may strike you about `The Hours' is that this film features more major characters who are gay, or at least bisexual, than any mainstream movie I can think of. Based on the novel by Michael Cunningham, this is the powerful story of three women from three different time periods who have one thing in common: they are all leading lives filled with depression, despondency and despair, not because they are gay, mind you, but because they are human. First there is the famous early 20th Century author Virginia Woolf (played by Nicole Kidman), who is doing daily battle with her own mental illness, a disease that is slowly destroying her own life and the lives of those around her. The story picks up her life at the time right after she has been released from an institution and been sent to spend a quiet, uneventful and restful time convalescing in the country with her husband. It is here that she begins writing her famous novel `Mrs. Dalloway,' an introspective tale of a woman who comes to realize that her well-ordered life is really just a collection of meaningless routines meaninglessly performed. This novel serves as the glue that binds together the three women of the story as they, too, come to see their own lives in this way. Julianne Moore is Laura Brown, a housewife living in the 1950's, who finds her domestic existence to be as much a prison as Virginia Woolf finds her life in the secluded countryside. Despite the fact that she has a husband and a child who clearly adore her, Laura struggles with the fact that she is unable to find the fulfillment she seeks out of life in the role of wife and mother which society has decreed for her. This leads her to a feeling of perpetual ennui and depression and even to the notion of ending it all through suicide (suicide is, in fact one of the major motifs of the work). This role provides an interesting counterpoint to Moore's character in `Far From Heaven.' In both films she is a woman attempting to cope with the stifling nature of life for a typical housewife in the 1950's, yet in the other film, SHE is the one devastated to discover that her husband is a closet homosexual, while, in this film, she herself is the one harboring secret lesbian feelings. This, of course, strengthens the parallels with Virginia Woolf, since she too had love affairs with women. The third character is a contemporary woman played by Meryl Streep. Like the fictional character Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa Vaughn is a woman whose life appears to others to be well ordered and fulfilling, yet she realizes that it is really a life built around meaningless triviality. Clarissa has a lesbian partner of ten years, yet the spark of love between them seems to have gone out. Clarissa spends most of her time regretting the loss of her one true love, the troubled poet, Richard Brown (Ed Harris), a gay man struggling with the final stages of AIDS, who wants nothing more than to rant against the injustice of his fate. Cunningham's story is, obviously, a symphony of despair. In fact, I haven't seen this many depressed people in one film since Ingmar Bergman passed from the filmmaking scene some twenty odd years ago. Yet, `The Hours' isn't really a depressing film because the artistry used to tell the tale elevates it to the realm of poetry. David Hare's screenplay does a beautiful job weaving in and out of the three different time periods, finding effective transitions that link the various women and their situations. Director Stephen Daldry establishes a lyrical, melancholic mood that draws us into this world of sadness and regret. He also, of course, has a veritable who's who of some of the world's top film actors to work with here. Nicole Kidman gives a beautifully controlled, heartbreaking performance as the troubled Ms. Woolf, conveying a veritable cauldron of seething inner emotions through a strangely unchanging, passive and emotionless exterior. Her work here is a model of restraint and discipline, especially given the fact that many other actresses might have used this showy role as an opportunity to `go all out' in a display of thespian overkill. Julianne Moore does the same with her role, also underplaying the emotions her character is experiencing, the better to highlight the sense of stultifying confinement she finds in her life. Streep is allowed a little more leeway in the sense that she alone gets to emote at a higher level, actually raging against the demons that haunt her (as, perhaps, befits a woman living in the 21st Century). Ed Harris does a superb job getting to the core of his character as well. He doesn't have much actual time on screen, but he makes his scenes count for all they're worth. `The Hours' is, obviously, a movie made for a specialized audience, one not easily scared off by a film with powerful themes and complex characters. In this epic of angst, three superb actresses end up taking us on a journey deep into the darkest recesses of the human soul - a journey that would be pretty much unbearable if they themselves were not there to guide us through it.
Nicole Kidman is writing a book, Julianne Moore is reading the book, Meryl Streep is the book. A brilliant conceit by master David Hare, astonishingly performed by Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Ed Harris, Toni Collette, John C Railly, Allison Janney,Stephen Dillane, Miranda Richardson Jeff Daniels and Clare Danes, even Eileen Atkins in a tiny, but revelatory moment, as the flower shop owner, is a true standout. Nicole Kidman's Virgina Woolf is a bit of a miracle, specially now, 5 years later, when you can actually look at her without noticing her nose. What you do notice is her thinking, her beautifully torturous battle for sanity - whether conscious or unconscious - "Even crazy people want to be asked!- she blurts at her sister to admonished her for not having been invited to a party. Kidman is truly sensational as is Meryl Streep, although one has come to expect that and that's why Kidman makes the bigger splash. Julianne Moore however, as the depressed perfect mother/wife of the 1950's, took me completely out of the emotional tornado Kidman and Streep consistently nurture and provide. Her performance is a performance and I was painfully aware of the machinery working just behind her eyes. Regardless "The Hours" is a rewarding experience a totally accessible intellectual and emotional ride.
If you have read any of the other reviews on this page, you have probably figured out "The Hours" is not the easy, mainstream film it was made out to be by the ads and the reviews. Starring three of today's most popular leading actresses, winner of some Golden Globe awards, based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, and the recipient of numerous rave reviews; it would seem to be a film that would appeal to a lot of people. "The Hours" is not a regular Hollywood type of drama film. It has more in common with Ingmar Bergman films than with "Terms of Endearment." I think the thing that most people are having problems with is that the film does not explain what takes place or the significance of the context of what takes place. Things happen and it is up to the viewer to decide what it means. This is a controversial film and people will not only argue about whether or not the film is worthwhile, but they can also debate what exactly takes place during the film. How a person interprets this film says more about the person than the film. The film follows a single day in the lives of three women in different time periods. During this day, each of them makes a decision that will affect the rest of their life. I felt the film improved upon the book by bringing more clarity into the decisions of each character. Also, some of the most memorable lines and scenes in the film did not exist in the book. While I would normally be the last person in the world to say anything positive about Phillip Glass, his score is evocative of the relentlessness of time. This is accentuated by the ticking of the clock throughout the film. The ethereal music also helps tie the three storylines together, to make it seem as if they are happening simultaneously. I think a lot of people were taken off-guard by this film because they were expecting a more standard type of drama. Also, the PG-13 rating implies a lighter subject matter than is actually in the film. Just as a warning: There is crying, suicide, and women kissing women. Even though the violence and language is mild and there are no sex or nudity in the film, it should have probably been given an R rating because of the extreme emotion displayed in the film. Emotionally unstable people should probably not see this film. As I said earlier, people will interpret this film differently since things are not spelled out for them. For the record, I did not think all three women were suffering from clinical depression as suggested by some people. Virginia's malaise would seem to fit the description of schizophrenia rather than clinical depression. Clarissa was suffering from regret over a decision she made thirty years previous and the feeling that she will never experience that happiness again. That does not necessarily mean she is clinically depressed. Laura is the depressed one and she makes a decision to handle that depression the way she thinks is best for her. Also, I do not feel Virginia was either incestuous or a lesbian. I think she was expressing her desperation through her disease and it came out in a socially unacceptable manner. There is no doubt in my mind that "The Hours" is a great film. I only recommend it to people who are up to the challenge of thinking about the film long after they have left the theater and deciding about what it means. It is not a film for everybody but I felt it was worth the effort.