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The Hours (2002) (Widescreen)
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THE HOURS tells the story of three very different individuals who share the feeling that they have been living their lives for someone else. Virginia Woolf (Kidman) lives in a suburb of London in the 1920s as she struggles to begin writing her first great novel, Mrs. Dalloway, while also attempting to overcome the mental illness that threatens to engulf her. Laura Brown (Moore), a young wife and mother in post-World War II Los Angeles, is just starting to read Mrs. Dalloway, and is so deeply affected by it that she begins to question the life she has chosen for herself. Then, in contemporary New York City, Clarissa Vaughan (Streep) is a modern-day mirror image of Woolfs Mrs. Dalloway as she plans what may be the final party for her friend and former lover, Richard (Harris), who is dying of AIDS.
It's hard to imagine anyone wanting more than what's on this lovely, single disc. There are four newly produced segments: a talk with composer Philip Glass, a featurette on the three main actresses, a must-see 10-minute feature on the writer of the novel (Michael Cunningham) and the screenplay (David Hare), and a crisp half-hour history of Virginia Wolfe with many anecdotes from various scholars. There are two commentaries. Highly recommended is Cunningham with director Stephen Daldry as they go through the movie with a good sense of appreciation for each person's craft. Cunningham is quite charming in revealing the story's origins while Daldry makes even the smallest task of filmmaking interesting. Daldry's so detailed he apologizes for such seemingly trivial bits as filming the opening sequence at a different time of year than it actually happened. The main three actresses speak separately on the other commentary track, and even though fans will enjoy their insights, the energy is very low; perhaps they should have recorded the track together. Streep's deep laughs at her little jokes are very smile-inducing. --Doug Thomas
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A beautiful, thought-provoking and creative story. Well done.
The story revolves around the author, Virginia Woolf, as she writes her story, "Mrs. Dalloway" and how the words she writes affect two other women in different time periods. Virginia is portrayed by Nicole Kidman and she does a wonderful job showing the essence of Virginia's depression and self-doubt. A brilliant writer who involves all of your senses in her prose she succumbs to the artist's tendency to be self-doubters and insecure, possibly from all the exposure to critics at every bend and corner. The cigarettes she smokes seethe about her as she contemplates her suicide and a word to leave behind, like her soul is going up in smoke. She lies beside a dead bird and she feels dead before her time, unable to fly and stifled by depression that is never fully explained. Her end is filmed in such a way that she surrenders herself to the river's current and slowly gets swept away by nature but she seems somehow freed by her own death, floating along in time and crossing the borders that time presents.
Julianne Moore plays the character, Laura Brown; a pregnant homemaker in the 1950's who is struggling with what life has to offer her. She seems to exist in a blur of emotion all of which sways towards depression. She attempts to bake a perfect cake for her "perfect" husband's birthday and fails sending herself into a moment of panic that almost produces her own demise. She runs away from her child and stays alone in a hotel ready to take her life and that of her unborn. She reads "Mrs.Read more ›
Weaving three stories together is a deft feat, accomplished here by connecting the stories with the ties that bind them. These include the party each of the three main characters plans to host on the day in which the film takes place, the same-sex kiss each shares before the day is out, and Mrs. Dalloway , the Virginia Woolf novel that one character is writing, one is reading, and one is living. Also instrumental in keeping the flow of the movie going is a superb score by minimalist Philip Glass.
It's the acting that really shines, though. Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, and Meryl Streep earn our empathy in every scene, radiating their feelings above and beyond the carefully crafted script. Kidman's scowling Woolf, battling husband Stephen Dillane for the right to control her own troubled existence, is as believable a tortured genius as can be imagined, outshining even Russell Crowe's portrayal of John Nash. Moore's '50s housewife hides the pain of her discontent from her husband--an excellent John C. Reilly--but not from us. Streep's face telegraphs her joy at buying the flowers for her party and her guilty dismay when Ed Harris scolds her for living to throw it.
Still, why should you watch a movie about three women in the throes of crisis? Because the film conveys at least two messages of profound importance. The first is that happiness is not to be taken for granted. As Streep lies on her bed, talking to daughter Claire Danes, she recalls the day, long ago, when she awoke at dawn from a night spent with Harris, before both embarked on lives with same-sex partners.Read more ›
Three women are trying to find something. In 1920s England, Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is trying to find inspiration for her newest novel. Thousands of miles away and several decades later, 1950s housewife Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) is trying to find time to read the aforementioned novel. Even yet more miles and years away, Y2K socialite Clarissa Vaughn (Meryl Streep) is trying to find something, too-- although we're never sure exactly what that is. Long story short, the three stories are linked both on superficial and deeper levels, and a lesson is to be learned. Hint: I think it has something to do with hours in the day.
Daldry captures cinematic parallelism very well, but he fails to capture any form of parallelism in the persons of the three female leads. Kidman is humorless, dry and cold; Moore is humbly subtle and conflicted; and Streep is curiously boisterous and campy. Indeed, the three actresses all turn in riveting performances; notably Moore, whose Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress was overshadowed by her simultaneous nomination in another category for "Far From Heaven." Kidman, who won the Oscar for Best Actress, is ironically the weakest of the three leads and has the least screen time.
The entire supporting cast is certainly the film's strongest asset, with strong performances from Jeff Daniels, Miranda Richardson, the delightful Toni Collette, and the underrated Stephen Dillane as the conflicted Leonard Woolf. Others are sorely underutilized; namely Allison Janney, Claire Daines, and John C. Reilly.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Saw this flick some time ago & ordered it. WOW. Fascinated by all of these womens' lives...especially Virginia Woolf's who felt condemned by her loved ones to live out the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Eddie Nguyen
An extraordinary film, filled with every mixed or tangles emotion one can possibly have, deeply moving and thought provoking. Intense.Published on April 14 2013 by Lindsay Ann Comeau
And just for the record, a condition to won an Oscar, look like an idiot, sick of Aids or ugly. That's the way Hanks won their awards and Nicole won this one. Read morePublished on June 25 2011 by lucio etchamendi
I had put off seeing this film, mostly because of a couple friends saying how "dark" and "depressing" it was. To the contrary, I found it to be just beautiful. Read morePublished on June 27 2004
Wow....this movie was incredible. Almost every actor had a top notch performance going. The only character whose feelings i didn't really understand were those of the man with... Read morePublished on June 17 2004 by The Voice of Reason
I found the movie to be a bit too melodramatic. The first two women suffered from the claustrophobic pressures of their societies. But Meryl Streep's character I didn't get. Read morePublished on May 27 2004
It's really a pleasure to see all these great actos together in one movie. Spephen Daldry's "The Hors", about three women in different times is a beautiful... Read morePublished on May 20 2004 by michi