The Hours DVD
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Directed by Stephen Daldry
Produced in 2002
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
A darkly beautiful work, The Hours tells the story of three women linked by the Virginia Woolf novel, Mrs. Dalloway. Nicole Kidman won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance as the novelist battling insanity. Julianne Moore also stars as a Los Angeles housewife reading the novel and Meryl Streep plays a modern-day version of Mrs. Dalloway.
Length: 110 mins
Cat No: MIROPD2145
Format: DVD Colour
by Alex Davidson on 4th May 2004
When Nicole Kidman won her Oscar for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours, the film became the target of lazy critics who derided the Academy for awarding the ... Read on
When Nicole Kidman won her Oscar for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours, the film became the target of lazy critics who derided the Academy for awarding the actress based purely, it was claimed, on the fact that the beautiful Kidman had to make herself unattractive by wearing a prosthetic nose, and that the film was pretentious and wordy. This is a depressing insight into the mind-track of many prejudiced critics who disparage a movie because it has high artistic ambitions (particularly if the film has the gall to offer the majority of the main parts to women); The Hours is a exceptional film that juggles complex characters and multiple timelines seamlessly, and boasts an incredible list of star names on career-best form.
The three storylines follow three women linked loosely by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway; Woolf herself (Kidman), who contemplates death as she writes in the countryside; Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), an unhappy housewife in the 1950s who read the novel; and Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep), a modern-day publisher looking after a dying friend (Ed Harris) who nicknames her “Mrs. Dalloway”. The film follows a day in the life of each of these characters, overlapping the narratives and subtly suggesting emotional connections between the three different women.
Although both Kidman and Streep are very good in their roles, it is Moore who really stands out; as she portrays a deeply complex woman who must hide her true feelings to conform to the contemporary stereotype of a 1950s housewife and mother, she makes the audience empathise with her plight through an incredibly restrained performance. There is a heartbreaking scene she shares with Toni Colette, playing another housewife who confides in Laura; it is one of the best-acted scenes in recent American cinema.
The Hours is far more than an actor’s triumph, however. Stephen Daldry’s sensitive direction and David Hare’s well-observed screenplay enca pture the women’s moods and feelings without ever betraying the masculine influence behind the camera, and Philip Glass’ score compliments the action beautifully. Chicago may have been more glitzy, but The Hours was by far the most deserving Best Picture Oscar nominee of its year. Hide