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The Hours /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, Ed Harris, Toni Collette 

Directed by: Stephen Daldry 

Produced by: Scott Rudin, Robert Fox 

Written by: David Hare 

Distributor: Paramount Pictures and Miramax Film Corp.


Movie Image
Movie Image
Movie Image

      The Hours showcases three women, in three different time periods, with one motive; to commit suicide. The constant depression of Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman), Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), and Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) makes them not only, in some way, physically connected; but psychologically as well. These three women have had it with life, in one way or another. They are attracted to women, and have either left, or plan on leaving their husbands. Two of them are bookworms, and the other a writer, of which the others read, and relate to. This is an example of depressing, but pure cinematic triumph. In this beautiful portrayal of women’s lives we see how time can fix things, as well as destroy them. It is also made important that time revolves around the humans that live it, and that their feelings are crucial to its moving. The flawlessly adapted screenplay, monumental performances, and intricate set and costume design make this passionately made piece one of the best films of the year.

     Virginia Woolf is a writer that succeeds only on her mounting stress, and the continuous problems that confront her. Woolf’s writing seemingly lives on the many discomforting feelings that surround her, even though she always wants them to go away. The Hours opens to her committing suicide. Will the issues that made her kill herself, which often psychologically appear in her writing, get inside of her most avid reader’s heads decades later? As discussed in the first paragraph, time is what this movie centers on. Only the passing days, weeks, and months will be able to answer this question.

     Woolf is only one of three major characters in the film. What would The Hours be without answering the question that I have just reminiscently asked? The two other ladies that dominate the screen are Laura Brown and Clarissa Vaughan, readers of Woolf. Brown’s story takes place in the fifties, and Vaughan’s in present time, but they are both very similar to each other. Laura’s life was full of worthless and regretful mistakes, and Clarissa’s is heading in the same direction. Will history repeat itself for generation after generation? As time passes, we will discover the answer. “I remember waking up at dawn, and there was such a sense of possibility,” says Clarissa. When will the passing hours bring these women the true happiness which they once had? The Hours does not fully answer this question. But the many issues that are still left unresolved when the credits begin to role help the movie maintain its realistic appearance. It is heavy, but not overbearing. Most general audiences will feel overwhelmed by its material, and males will definitely be turned off by it. It is deeply enriching filmmaking, though. Though it might not be a classic, I will be able to remember it for some time.

     The Hours is a giant collage full of the best performances of the year. Nicole Kidman’s Virginia Woolf is an extraordinary character, accompanied by a mind-blowing performance. Kidman is barely recognizable as the straight-faced Woolf, with a prosthetic nose and an ugly face. Her character’s emotions are so deeply moving, that even when expressionless, we know exactly what she is thinking. Meryl Streep is excellent as Clarissa Vaughan, and has her moments, though her performance is probably my least favorite of the heap. Julianne Moore, however, leads the pack as Laura Brown. I can now say that she deserves two Oscar nods. One for her character in Far From Heaven, who’s husband wants to leave her because he is homosexual. And secondly, for this role, where she plays a homosexual who wants to leave her husband. Moore is incredibly versatile, and exercises this talent in The Hours. It has so many great performances, and an endless list of recognizable names. I was passionately involved in the excellent story full of depth and drama, that is pushed forward by these incredible performances.

     The Hours is a perfectly made film that is full of memorable performances, direction, production, music, and cinematography. It is one humongous affair of filmmaking at its best. Even though I wasn’t particularly fond of the story, I was moved by it. This is yet another member of the now giant club of the best films of two-thousand-and-two!

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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