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The Hours (18-Dec-2002)

Director: Stephen Daldry

Writer: David Hare

From novel: The Hours by Michael Cunningham

Music by: Philip Glass

Producers: Scott Rudin; Robert Fox

Keywords: Drama

Three generations of women each cope with turmoil at different points in their lives through the novel Mrs. Dalloway.

Taking place over a span of nearly eight decades, The Hours follows three separate women -- writer Virginia Woolf, housewife Laura Brown, and editor Clarissa Vaughn -- as they find solace in the novel Mrs. Dalloway while weathering various crises in their respective lives, playing out the roles of author, reader, and editor to craft a tale asking viewers if works of fiction are an acceptable shelter from the problems we all face in our day-to-day lives.

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Eileen Atkins
16-Jun-1934   Co-Creator of Upstairs, Downstairs
Toni Collette
1-Nov-1972   United States of Tara
Christian Coulson
3-Oct-1978   Tom Riddle in Harry Potter
Claire Danes
12-Apr-1979   My So-Called Life
Jeff Daniels
19-Feb-1955   Dumb and Dumber
Stephen Dillane
30-Nov-1956   Welcome to Sarajevo
Ed Harris
28-Nov-1950   The Rock
Allison Janney
19-Nov-1959   C. J. Cregg on The West Wing
Nicole Kidman
20-Jun-1967   Moulin Rouge
Margo Martindale
18-Jul-1951   Rita Perkins-Hall on A Gifted Man
Julianne Moore
3-Dec-1960   Boogie Nights, Short Cuts
John C. Reilly
24-May-1965   Boogie Nights
Miranda Richardson
3-Mar-1958   The Crying Game
Meryl Streep
22-Jun-1949   The Deer Hunter


Nicole Kidman   ...   Virginia Woolf
Julianne Moore   ...   Laura Brown
Meryl Streep   ...   Clarissa Vaughan
Stephen Dillane   ...   Leonard Woolf
Miranda Richardson   ...   Vanessa Bell
George Loftus   ...   Quentin Bell
Charley Ramm   ...   Julian Bell
Sophie Wyburd   ...   Angelica Bell
Lyndsay Marshal   ...   Lottie Hope
Linda Bassett   ...   Nelly Boxall
Christian Coulson   ...   Ralph Partridge
Michael Culkin   ...   Doctor
John C. Reilly   ...   Dan Brown
Jack Rovello   ...   Richie
Toni Collette   ...   Kitty
Margo Martindale   ...   Mrs. Latch
Colin Stinton   ...   Hotel Clerk
Ed Harris   ...   Richard Brown
Allison Janney   ...   Sally Lester
Claire Danes   ...   Julia Vaughan
Jeff Daniels   ...   Louis Waters
Eileen Atkins   ...   Barbara in the Flower Shop
Carmen De Lavallade   ...   Clarissa's Neighbor
Daniel Brocklebank   ...   Rodney


Review by Lester Adams (posted on 16-Apr-2006)

I don't usually do movie criticism, but it has been a long time since I saw a movie that left me with such a sense of torpid despondency and hopelessness as THE HOURS. My friend Michael insisted that I go see this "wonderfully crafted little gem of a movie called THE HOURS that [had] so much to say about the 'human condition'." That should have been my tip off right there. Why is it that a certain strain of intellectual men (and most women) equate depression (as well as other negative emotions such as sadness and grief) with "deep thought" while happiness and uplifting themes (such as the feeling of ecstatic joy one gets from watching the bad guy get what's coming to him in the form of an exploding hand grenade) are equated with air headed frivolity and vulgar pedestrian taste? Their idea of a perfect intellectual conversation seems to be sitting around in a coffee house somewhere in the West Village or on Haight Street gazing down into a cup of steaming Kenyan java while complaining to one another about how life has f*$#ed them over; and what beautiful human beings they once were before an unfeeling world crushed them down. Anyway, what follows was my response to an e-mail from Michael asking me how I liked the movie. Well Michael, thanks to your prodding, I went to see THE HOURS, staring the lovely and talented Nicole Kidman, and co-starring Meryl Streep; and Julianne Moore. After leaving the theater I filled my coat pockets with heavy rocks and began walking zombie like toward the river so despondent was I at the prospect of having to face all of those joyless hours which the movie made me feel certain lay ahead of me in life. Only the quick thinking and fast talking of a kindly stranger saved me from a watery grave. The movie was beautifully photographed in hushed, muted, sepia tones to accentuate and reflect the somber, gloomy, disconsolate and hopeless mood of its main characters. (Wasn't it H.D. Thoreau who once said that behind their facades of genial conviviality most women lead lives of quiet desperation in a huddled mass yearning to breathe free?) The acting was exceptionally good and, at least to me, I found the actresses to be compelling in their portrayals of women overcome with, at best, unremitting ennui; and at worst, soul numbing despair. The movie had all the cheer of a cancer ward on a bleak and rainy New England afternoon in late December. Notwithstanding all of the movie's many virtues (and there ARE many), I disliked it for the way it made me feel; and am sorry I went to see it. I should have stayed home and played a nice little uplifting game of Freecell on my computer. For some reason I don't like to be depressed or saddened by things, and very much like to stay OUT of touch with those particular emotions as much as possible. Years of study and experience have led me to conclude that there is every bit as much to be said for the repression of unpleasant emotions as there is to be said for, say, avoiding contact with hot stove tops. I realize how shallow this is, Michael, but I just can't see DELIBERATELY going to view something that is going to make you feel bad. But that's just one man's opinion; and BEING a man, I recognize that there are certain things that I am simply incapable of understanding. But I DO understand this: On a chick flick scale of one to ten, this movie hits a perfect ten. From a woman's perspective it has everything: unrequited love, love that has died, crying, death, loss, homosexuality, poetry, pernicious diseases (both mental and physical), infidelity and abandonment, manipulation of others, Edwardian settings, turn of the century costumes, the emptiness of life for women in the pre-liberation 1950's, victimized and exploited women, ineffectual and overcompensating men, hand wringing, educated people in touch with their feelings (and those feelings, without exception, all relating to either loss or depression {or both}), sensitive and intelligent women sacrificing their lives for incognizant men who are, for the most part, oblivious of their needs; or, on the flip side, the hollowness of life for over-achieving career women of the 1990's, and on and on and on. You can bet your boots, Michael, that the next movie I go see is going to have plenty of jet fighters in it as well as machine guns, explosions, hand grenades, chain saws, cyborgs from the future, a plot that can be written on the back of a matchbook cover; and plenty of long legged big titted women! I know, I know. You don't even have to say it. I'm a knuckle dragging philistine who should be horse-whipped out of town.

Review by Keith James (posted on 8-May-2009)

THE HOURS was a very troubling movie to watch. The first time I viewed it, left me with all kinds of troubling thoughts. I did not really understand what I had seen. Most of my thoughts were, trying to understand what these various women were going through. The role of Ed Harris really threw me for a loop. It was really a good role. This movie really makes you think. It tends to depress me and it really worried me as to what I was feeling. I had to view the movie a second time as I did not fully understand what I had previously viewed. It will probably take a third viewing to fully understand what was being portrayed. I take the roles of these women seriously and it will be a while, before I watch it again. My sanity needs to be preserved. The cast; Nicole Kidman as V. Wolff helped me understand the troubled mind of her character. The helpless that she endured and the final desperate steps, she took. To be free... Brilliant actress in this role. Meryl Streep... God what can someone say about her roles, absolutely brilliant and she plays it to perfection. The interplay with Ed Harris and the totality of their roles as teenagers in the beginning, and through out all their lives, to the end. It makes one think, about their own lives and those who meant so much to each other. She was finally set free, in the end, by the death of Ed Harris. It was love and emotion that Ed Harris felt, that allowed him to finally set free the role played by Meryl Streep's character. Julianne Moore's role, I felt most closely reflected the helpless feeling of Virginia Wolff (Nicole Kidman) that she was trapped, helpless, and only saw death as the way out. To the credit of Julianne's character. She finally understood, what she would have to do, to preserve her sanity and life. She took a hard step to survive, and you do not see this until the end of the movie. She played her role with great acting ability. I would hate to think that she was drawing on some inner knowledge for that role. This is an excellent movie. It is dark and can really depress you if not careful. If you understand the emotions in play throughout this movie it will really make you think.

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