The Hours (2002)

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Starring: Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, Ed Harris, Toni Collette, Claire Danes, Jeff Daniels, John C. Reilly, Miranda Richardson, Allison Janney, Stephen Dillane, Jack Rovello, Beloved Character Actress Margo Martindale

Director: Stephen Daldry

Summary: The story of how Virginia Woolf’s novel “Mrs. Dalloway” affects three generations of women

Other Nominations: Director, Actress (Kidman)*, Supporting Actor (Harris), Supporting Actress (Moore), Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Costume Design, Film Editing

Huh. Well, it hard to fully appreciate without having actually read Mrs. Dalloway, although I did read enough about it to know it echoes the plot, themes and structure of the book. But how does it hold up as it’s own independent work? Reasonably well, although not without problems. This is the rare movie starring three Best Actress winners, and they’re all very good; ironically, I think Kidman is the weakest of the three and the least deserving of praise. A lot of that goes back to her character, Virginia Woolf herself, being the least interesting: she’s mostly just being flat, dour and lacking the kind of intelligence and wit you would expect out of one of the greatest writers of the 20th century). Whether it was really possible for Kidman to have been exceptional in the role is hard to say, but I didn’t see it here. I also thought the story was creative, well-executed and Moore and Streep’s characters had some real complexity, although maybe it tries too hard sometimes-while my reviews clearly show I have no problems with darker, sadder stories, a few times the movie felt like it reveled in being moody for its own sake-Harris’ character especially seems excessively depressing just to be depressing. Lastly, I enjoyed the score from Philip Glass; everything he does basically sounds the same, but it fits here. Overall, a solid drama although held together by some quality performances and writing, even if some of the characterization and general tone had problems.

Rating: B-

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