The Hours (2002)
Directed by Stephen Daldry
Based on the novel by Michael Cunningham
Screenplay by David Hare
Starring: Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Ed Harris, Toni Collette, Claire Danes, Jeff Daniels
Virginia Woolf (Kidman), Laura Brown (Moore), and Clarissa Vaughan (Streep) all have their own connection to Mrs. Dalloway, the novel by Woolf.While each of these women is living in a different era, they’re all connected by their experiences with suicide. For Woolf, the struggle is within herself, as she seeks to overcome lingering depression that has ruled her life. Laura Brown is stuck in a life she doesn’t want, and is seeking a way out. Clarissa Vaughan is looking for ways to accept AIDS as it threatens to take her good friend, and poet Richard (Harris).
This is an interesting story, based on a popular novel by Michael Cunningham (A Home at the End of the World). The novel was adapted by David Hare (The Reader), and directed by Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot). David Hare earned an Oscar nomination for Best adapted Screenplay. Daldry was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for his work on this film. The film focuses on three connected story lines separated by decades and circumstance. The cast is filled with many of the biggest names amongst actresses in Hollywood. Nicole Kidman (Birth), Meryl Streep (Marvin’s Room), and Julianne Moore (A Single Man). In addition, the film features the talents of Ed Harris (Glengarry Glen Ross), Toni Collette (About a Boy), Claire Danes (The Rainmaker), and Jeff Daniels (Terms of Endearment).
This screenplay is an interesting attempt to show the bond three different women have as it relates to the novel Mrs. Dalloway. Like many films with concurrent story lines, this can be a bit abrupt at times, moving from one setting to another with a less obvious purpose than I would’ve hoped for. The story does tie up the loose ends nicely, but it isn’t as fluid as it could have been throughout the middle. The highlight of the screenplay is the dialogue, which seems to be sparse, but very deliberate in its use. The dialogue also allows the stars of the film to shine.
The acting in this film is really nice. Each segment of the film takes on unique characteristics thanks to the work of the stars. Nicole Kidman had to physically transform (through the magic of makeup) and bring a legendary author to life. She’s especially good with her role in this film. Her work earned her the Academy Award for Best Leading Actress. Julianne Moore is also great in this film. Her performance was marked by the silent expression she uses so well. Without dialogue, she communicated some of the most important parts of her character’s life. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her performance. As always, Meryl Streep was great with her role. She played a character who always seemed to be on the brink of tears. This emotional performance really worked nicely, especially opposite Ed Harris. Harris also earned an Oscar nomination for his role in the Best Supporting Actor category. The rest of the cast is also great with their work on the movie.
The movie is visually nice as well. The film stays consistent throughout, even as the story changes generations. The score for the film is also nicely done, bringing all of the emotion to the surface. Finally, the sets and costuming are great throughout the movie. The different eras are all brought to life nicely. It’s also important to mention that the hair and makeup work is excellent. The transformation of Nicole Kidman is so impressive that it truly presents her as someone else.
This is a good movie, looking to touch on a sensitive subject. I would recommend this to people who are fans of the stars. I would also suggest this one to people who enjoy deep emotional dramas. The movie does get a little rough with the multiple story lines being shown, but nothing that hurts the overall experience. The film was a big hit amongst the critics when it was released. In addition to the above mentioned award nominations, the film was also nominated for Oscars for Best Score, Best Editing, and Best Costume Design. I give this one 4.3 out of 5 stars.
Great review, it’s been a while since I last saw The Hours, but I can still remember the beautiful music in it.
The score is incredible. Thanks for reading!