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Overall Rating
3.29

Awesome30.47%
Worth A Look: 20.31%
Average: 15.63%
Pretty Bad: 14.84%
Total Crap: 18.75%

8 reviews, 80 user ratings


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Hours, The
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by Charles Tatum

"Biding Time"
4 stars

Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, and Meryl Streep take viewers on one weird misunderstood trip.

The film begins with Virginia Woolf's suicide in 1941, then takes us back to the 1920's, when Woolf (Nicole Kidman) was beginning her novel "Mrs. Dalloway" while living with her husband and angry household staff in a small village in England. Virginia was brought there to impossibly recover from severe mental illness, and she and her husband run a small printing house.

In the 1950's, pregnant and plain Laura (Julianne Moore) dotes incessantly on her young son (an excellent child actor named Jack Rovello), and dutifully waits for her WWII vet husband Dan (John C. Reilly) to bring home the bacon. Laura is reading the novel "Mrs. Dalloway," which mirrors her own unhappy existence.

In 2001, Clarissa (Meryl Streep) is an enabler who is helping her friend Richard (Ed Harris) by throwing him a party to celebrate a literary award. Richard is dying of AIDS, his mind is going, and his pet name for Clarissa is "Mrs. Dalloway," as Clarissa almost seems to be living the tale Woolf is writing.

The connections between the three stories do not consist of just the novel. All three women are dutifully playing out their roles and lives, doing everything for others, and being dangerously selfless. Woolf, in the horrors of mental illness, allows her husband to put her best interests at heart and moves her from London (a city she detested) to Richmond (a city she detests even more). Laura is a complete blank. Her sick friend Kitty (Toni Collette) turns her nose up at the novel she is reading, she just plays the happy mom and wife role, feeling worthless inside. Laura has a great line that since WWII veterans risked their lives overseas, they somehow deserved a wife and a good life when they came home. Clarissa ignores her deteriorating relationship with lover Sally (Allison Janney), and throws herself into the dinky details of Richard's life. They were lovers once, and Richard's ex, Louis (Jeff Daniels), visits Clarissa to stir up some emotions she has been holding back for much too long.

I did not see "The Hours" (the title refers to the time we have between events in our lives, and the time we have left) as a typical "chick flick." If anything, it does not empower women to do much of anything on their own without the help of an evil man. All three stories involve a lesbian subplot, kisses meant to show men the ladies are doin' it for themselves, but all three times nothing seems to change afterward.

I associated with the film through the writing and the mental illness. I do both. Woolf was literally crippled at many points of her life with her illness. It is thought she did not want children (her marriage was one of convenience, she was bisexual) so her illness would not be passed on to her children. This seems more sincere than a rotund former talk show host letting the world know she does not want birth children so she can save the planet from possible alcoholic cancer victims.

I did not feel evil men were putting down these three women at all. They may have been playing the roles assigned, and they are unhappy, but all three find their way out- sadly, through suicide and attempted suicides.

Nicole Kidman (enough about her fake nose already) is very good as Virginia Woolf, although Irish actress Fiona Shaw was born to play the role (they look exactly alike). Julianne Moore has a wonderful tension in her scenes, as her young son's character watches his mother's seemingly flighty behavior and tries to help her. Meryl Streep proves once again that she is one great actress, like her or not. A special mention should go to Ed Harris, who literally looks like he is dying. There are no "Love Story"-type sterile hospital settings here, his seedy apartment reflects his own mental deterioration.

As the three stories intertwine and relate to each other, it still manages to pull out a surprising plot twist near the end. Philip Glass' score is melancholy and meandering, but always there, tying the three stories together. He does not big band it up for the 1950's, or throw in a rap for 2001, it is a wonderful constant. Daldry's seemingly standard direction seems appropriate to these women's standard lives. Who needs flash and zoom when you live from one day to the next without doing anything new or stopping to take notice?

While a few slow spots keep this from being a perfect film, "The Hours" does have strong performances and direction. It ultimately just nudges us and reminds us that hours are all we have left here.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6495&reviewer=325
originally posted: 06/29/03 23:11:25
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/03/12 Courtney Great cast & a gripping story of love and loss. 5 stars
9/07/08 Pamela White life choices restrained by social expectations 4 stars
5/18/08 PAUL SHORTT A REPELLENT, GRIM, UNINVOLVING AND DEPRESSING FILM 1 stars
4/06/07 Anthony brilliant writing acting music. A perfect film 5 stars
1/21/07 Bitchflaps Risibly pretentious and dramatically one note, bonus points for the detail and Moore's perf 2 stars
6/18/06 jcnice well acted but it's message is old hat: be true to yourself. 4 stars
4/12/06 anthonyuk great film but the oscar should have gone to julianne moore 5 stars
4/02/06 JRE i don't get it 4 stars
1/03/06 Daveman I'm shocked to say that Nicole deserved her oscar 4 stars
12/23/05 Indrid Cold Intelligent, meloncholy dramas are nice in theory, but they usually turn out pretty boring. 4 stars
10/05/05 Jesse Taylor Possibly the best movie of 2002. Outstanding performances from the whole cast. 5 stars
8/29/05 rada perfect 4 stars
8/25/05 ES This is a numbingly boring and badly made movie about weak women who are closet lesbians 1 stars
6/22/05 K. Everts Interesting review, but M.P. Bartley should learn to spell "its." 4 stars
6/08/05 fab Seen this and want to die(only women can like this crap) 1 stars
1/08/05 Lucas Stenz bites 1 stars
12/05/04 Kristina Williams I was surprised at how much I liked this flick, even with fake noses and lesbos. 5 stars
11/03/04 ELI Needed more lesbians! Besides that it was pretty good. 4 stars
11/02/04 Eleanor it got me thinking about walking a mile in another mans shoes 5 stars
11/01/04 AnnaMaria this movie is a masterpiece it gives us a different point of view.. 5 stars
10/29/04 moviegoer Worst movie ever! 1 stars
10/02/04 Daveman Too staged, theatrical and contrived, The Hours never really comes to life. 2 stars
8/16/04 Rusty Klichowicz 3 women, 3 eras, connected by spirit. 5 stars 5 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva a real surprise 5 stars
4/25/04 Carla i thought it was confusing and boring. 3 stars
4/17/04 Alex Blech. Yech. Shudder. I have no words. 1 stars
4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt Despite a good cast, it's a very disappointing, highly pretentious piece of crap. 2 stars
4/15/04 gordon purcell Indulgent, overwrought, with bad part for struggling Harris (Streep, Moore are strong 'tho) 1 stars
4/15/04 Charlene Javier One of the best films EVER! 5 stars
4/15/04 rojo Well acted, but depressing. 4 stars
4/13/04 Chris I really liked it however did every women have to be gay? Acted very well with good cast. 4 stars
3/06/04 Jaco Visser The first movie that drove ME to tears! Very heavy! Beautiful! The best drama ever! 5 stars
3/01/04 alice heavy, too heavy 3 stars
2/13/04 Monster W. Kung Horrid, fake drama that offers nothing whatsoever. 1 stars
2/03/04 May Q. Horney Could have been worse! Meryl Streep could have been the one with nose enlargement! 2 stars
2/03/04 Iris Verna How did Nicole Kidman smell while wearing that fake nose? Awful! 2 stars
2/03/04 LeAnn McFadden Nicole, did someone select that nose for you? Or did you get to pick your nose yourself? 2 stars
1/29/04 Rhoda Knight Bullshit Elena! I dont like the movie because IT is sexist! 1 stars
1/24/04 Elena This film was amazing and beautifully acted and conveyed. If you dont like it you're sexist 5 stars
1/09/04 Gray Exemplary performances by Moore and Streep. Beautiful music. Heavy-going. 4 stars
1/02/04 Nick Pretty bad with occasional decent moments, but no way did Kidman deserve that Oscar. 2 stars
10/05/03 Karen Moore I hope real Virginia Woolf was nothing like this! Other 2 brats are fictitious,so who cares 1 stars
9/16/03 Jinnvisible `Body snatcher`approach to period drama , Aaagh!!! depresion has got me better, kill myself 3 stars
9/03/03 Amelia Lundy The Hours is one of the most deeply, moving,best films I've ever seen. 5 stars
8/26/03 Millie Maelstrom Charles Tatum, hope your IQ is over 20. These women are self-indulgent,NOT self-sacrificing 1 stars
8/25/03 May Q. Horney Could've been worse -- Meryl Streep could have been the one with nose enlargement! 2 stars
8/17/03 Summer Kidman had that Best Actress Oscar coming a long time before, but The Hours WAS great. 5 stars
8/14/03 cpbjr nicole kidman was amazing, as were all the actors 5 stars
8/13/03 The Talking Elbow Some good acting, especially Nicole, but the movie had an odd lesbian pretense. 3 stars
7/27/03 Kay Y. Keep prozac with you while watching. 4 stars
7/13/03 WWE HHH-HATE CLUB HOW DID THIS CRAP GET GOOD REVIEWS MUCH LESS OSCAR NOMINATION? 1 stars
7/08/03 John Phillips If you liked Shrek you will love this one, CGI was amazing. 5 stars
6/19/03 gray dicks 5 stars
6/11/03 George Jung Cheap Oscar bullshit without a single original fucking thought. 1 stars
5/22/03 Desert Rat Immature jackass is just that--Julianne Moore rocked! 4 stars
5/09/03 Ellie Jack Mello Intelligent. No conclusion but - this IS Virginia Wolfe! 5 stars
5/06/03 immature jackoff Julianne Moore is a quite capable actress, but utterly wasted in this bratfest! 2 stars
4/20/03 Flick Chick boring, dull, slow, pointless crap disguised as a cinematic masterpiece 1 stars
4/20/03 Dillon Julianne Moore made it worthwhile. I'm not surprised immature jackoffs hated it 5 stars
4/05/03 Sherron Total agreement with your review. In the end I wanted to slit my throat! 2 stars
3/24/03 May Q. Horney Could have been worse -- Meryl Streep could have been the one with nose enlargement! 2 stars
3/23/03 byron chicago rules u gay fuks 1 stars
3/11/03 Shadaan Felfeli Performances were good enough but i just didn't get the whole lesbionic film ! 3 stars
3/07/03 Sure hope that's not the world I'M trapped in! Trapped in a world where everyone's gay and can't be happy trying to deny it. 3 stars
2/27/03 tina I thought it was BRILLIANT. The score was amazing 5 stars
2/26/03 Deanna Beautiful captures the book wonderfully NOT for the boom boom crowd. 5 stars
2/23/03 Flick Chick boring, dull, slow, pointless crap disguised as a cinematic masterpiece 1 stars
2/23/03 renate + udo HANDEL crap 1 stars
2/19/03 Tar Mac Decent enough, but there's no way this deserves to be odds-on for best picture! 4 stars
2/18/03 y2mckay Nice review, Tash! See Rider, even women don't like it! The He-slut is vindicated! 2 stars
2/14/03 Andrew Carden Misunderstood Film Is Actually Quite Fantasic. 5 stars
2/09/03 Lee Y2McKay took the words right out of my mouth 2 stars
2/08/03 Heather Great acting all around, enjoyed the Mrs Dalloway influence throughout 5 stars
2/02/03 Ubu the Ripper How can anyone in their right mind thinks Nicole Kidman can act? GROTESQUE. 1 stars
2/01/03 Suzz a splendid and beautiful film 5 stars
1/28/03 pipeman brilliant. Not to be missed. 5 stars
1/27/03 Angolmois Moody, brooding etc... but that's why it's greast. Hope you like Philip Glass music. 5 stars
1/22/03 Benjamin Leatherman Hours? Seemed like days! Boring flick about middle-aged broads. 3 stars
1/22/03 Jen I really liked it. But maybe thats because I read the book before I saw it...... 5 stars
1/15/03 Wyrus Sandman Wow, I'm the only person who's seen this? Thematically hard to follow, but great acting 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  27-Dec-2002 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-Jun-2003

UK
  N/A

Australia
  20-Feb-2003


Directed by
  Stephen Daldry

Written by
  David Hare

Cast
  Meryl Streep
  Nicole Kidman
  Julianne Moore
  Toni Collette
  Claire Danes
  Ed Harris



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