The Hours (2002) Review
The stories of three women, in three different time periods are all linked together mainly with grief and the book Mrs Dalloway.
I remember watching this film for the first time many years ago and not really appreciating or understanding it at all really. Since then though I have given it more chances and watch it every now and then, as even on the first viewing I knew the performances were good. It certainly is something you have to be a little bit older to understand more in my opinion. It’s powerful and at times quite scary, not in a horror movie sense but relating to that alone and confused life feeling.
Not only that suicide is a big factor in all of the stories, whether they are thinking about killing themselves or someone close to them. It is quite strange how somethings don’t particularly change very much in different time periods and certain problems will remain for each person. It really is a thought-provoking film and strong performances from Kidman, Moore, Streep and Harris.
The film changes between the different stories throughout but don’t worry it is not difficult to follow. Somethings link together better than you may first expect them too, I remember I didn’t see one of the links straight away on the first viewing. Did I mention I was probably too young for this film at the time? Kidman is Virginia Woolf who has mental health problems and continuing to write her stories. Moore is Laura Brown a 1950s housewife who is not happy with her family life at all, with the up and coming birth of her second child does not seem to be coping very well at all. Streep is Clarissa a contemporary woman with her lesbian life partner of 10 years where the spark has gone, spending most of her time trying to help her friend Richard (Harris) who is dying of AIDs.
Pretty hard film to do a very brief overview of the plot summary as really it has three separate plots with parts which overlap and link together in a very good way. The film is not shy at all when handling gay and lesbian moments/relationships. Anything between a man and a woman in this film is actually rather rare. All three leading ladies share a lesbian kiss with someone as it goes on, which I guess was quite a daring thing to do with such well-known and mainstream actresses. Maybe that is something that gives this film a good edge? Also recognising the problems with AIDs as we can see Richard wasting away, some of those scenes are very difficult and heartbreaking to watch. Ed Harris’ performance really is haunting, he totally deserved his Oscar nomination for this film.
Nicole Kidman picked up her Oscar for her performance as Virginia Woolf and rightly so, not only will you not recognise her, you will also admire her very powerful and moving acting in this film. Her accent is fantastic and she really will make you pay attention to her story. Julianne Moore was nominated in a supporting role and surprisingly did not have to go up against Meryl Streep for the same film. I think it’s actually quite a shame that the actresses did not spend hardly any screen time together when you think of how good all three of them all. Kidman was not on with either of them due to the different time period’s. Streep and Moore only share a few minutes.
If you are into drama’s with a good story and will make you think about life in general then this is certainly a film you should watch. The performances from all the cast are truly fantastic and well worth seeing, this is currently on Netflix UK as well so you don’t really have any excuse to not watch this film. I have it on DVD and found myself watching it again on Netflix. It might just be one of those films that you have to give at least a second chance as it does have a lot of things going on.