Thursday, February 17, 2011

You Haven't Seen That Yet??? - The Hours

Plot: Three women, separated by a span of nearly 80 years, find themselves weathering similar crises, all linked by a single work of literature in this film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Michael Cunningham. In 1923, Virginia Woolf is attempting to start work on her novel Mrs. Dalloway, in which she chronicles one day in the life of a troubled woman. But Virginia has demons of her own, and she struggles to overcome the depression and suicidal impulses that have followed her throughout her life, as her husband Leonard ineffectually tries to help. In 1951, Laura Brown is a housewife living in suburban Los Angeles, where she looks after her son Richie and husband Dan . Laura is also an avid reader who is currently making her way through Mrs. Dalloway. The farther she gets into the novel, the more Laura discovers that it reflects a dissatisfaction she feels in her own life, and she finds herself pondering the notion of leaving her life behind. Finally, in 2000, Clarissa Vaughn is a literary editor who is caring for Richard Brown, a former boyfriend and noted author, who is slowly losing his fight with AIDS. As she labors to help Richard through another day, he wonders if his life is worth the unending struggle. via.

Nicole's Rating: A

Why Nicole is Appalled Matt Hasn't Seen It: "Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself." The first line of the book and one of the first scenes in the movie that you see all three of our heroines connected. The link I provided goes to this great tumblr called Fuck Yeah, Meryl Streep. It's pretty awesome. Anyway, it's a .gif and I couldn't figure out how to put it here because I'm only a fake computer person, but click through. It's great.

Anyway, I was surprised Matt hadn't seen it because it was nominated for several Academy Awards and the translucent Nicole Kidman won for best actress, in what was probably her best performance ever. Whatever, whatever, Cold Mountain. But, in The Hours, you couldn't even tell she was Virginia Woolf!

He probably didn't see it because he thought it'd be a chick movie. And it's true, there are a lot of chicks in it - powerhouse actresses (Meryl, Julianne Moore, Claire Danes and, okay, Nicole) alongside some pretty amazing men (Ed Harris, John C. Reilly). The movie was moving, meaningful, full of wonderful metaphors and beautiful imagery. It treats the theme of human happiness as a universal desire that is oft unattainable. I just thought it was a beautiful, beautiful movie.

Matt's Rating: A

Matt's Review: I have always heard about The Hours, especially being an English major, but I never actually mustered up enough energy to sit down and watch it. I think when I was younger, I viewed it as a "girly" movie, simply because the three leads are all females. Needless to say I was one hell of an idiot back then (and probably still am now). The Hours is spectacular, and I was amazed by the cast. Talk about a blockbuster ensemble! Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Ed Harris, Claire Daines, and a solid amount of famous character actors. Nicole Kidman is obviously breathtaking (she won the Oscar after all). She BECAME Virgina Woolf. I mean she's unrecognizable, but that might just be the fake nose. But it makes me wonder why she hasn't done anything that incredible since. Maybe this director just knew how to get it out of her. She was lovable, crazy genius, and tragic all at once. Julianne Moore is also incredible. I would go as far as to say it's the best she's ever acted.

What really impressed me was the writing. Holy. Fucking. Shit. Having never seen The Pianist, which won best adapted screenplay that year (2003), I would have to assume that it was neck and neck with The Hours. There are so many quotable lines, the characters are consistent, every scene served a purpose (even if you didn't realize it till half an hour later, which is a sign of intelligent writing) and the movie had a clear message that was slowly and subtly told to you. The writer told a story about celebrating life using characters that are depressed and suicidal. I don't care what you say, that's impressive. Telling a message slowly, subtly, and still engaging is much harder to do than just slamming you over the head with it for two hours....see Pi.

The score is incredible, the writing is awesome, the acting is tremendous, and the direction was fantastic. Very good film. I'm glad I watched it.


  1. The Pianist blows. My sister loved it and then Joe and I watched it... I'm not even sure we finished it. It was just so horrible and so slow. And there's this one horrific death scene that is performed very vaudevillian - I was disgusted.

  2. Most importantly, you forgot Allison Janney in the amazing cast :P
    you can't forget her.
    The movie is really great, and definitely one of my favorites. I've also wondered why Nicole Kidman hasn't done anything great after The Hours and I've also wondered if it had to do with the fake nose...
    The Pianist does blow, Nicole is right.
    The score WAS one of my favorites, I definitely love Phillip Glass UNTIL
    I watched The illusionist and Notes on a Scandal... It's the same exact soundtrack, literally. Sooooo points go down for Mr. Glass :/
    Still an awesome soundtrack to draw to though.