Review by: Katherine Kaminsky | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by director Stephen
Daldry and screenwriter David Hare; Actress audio commentary;
The Music of The Hours (7 mins); The Lives of Mrs. Dalloway (9
mins); Three Woman (15 mins); Storyboards; Filmmakers Introduction;
Theatrical trailer; The Mind and Times of Virginia Woolf (24 mins).
SEE The Hours before you are sick of hearing how good it is.
It's sure to be an Oscar favourite.
The Hours was the original title of Virginia Woolf's first novel.
However, as the book began to take shape, she soon realised the
story was revolving around one character and so changed the title
to Mrs Dalloway.
In The Hours, this great work of literature then acts as a catalyst
affecting the lives of three women.
The first, Virginia Woolf herself (played by Nicole Kidman),
as she conceives and writes the book, Mrs Dalloway, in the early
1920's. The second, Laura (Julianne Moore) a 1950's pregnant housewife,
who is reading Mrs Dalloway, and is prompted to change her life.
And the third, Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) a contemporary
New Yorker, who is given the nickname Mrs Dalloway as she prepares
a party for her friend, Richard (Ed Harris), who is dying.
As we pass through these three very different ages, we see how
much the women have in common and how their lives are intertwined
and affect each other.
This fascinating idea, devised from Michael Cunningham's book
of the same name (which won the Pulitzer prize for fiction), has
been adapted by David Hare and is the second feature film to be
directed by the extremely gifted Stephen Daldry (of Billy Elliot
The magic continues with a phenomenal cast. Kidman, who won a
Golden Globe for Best Actress, is unrecognisable as the plain
faced, distressed Virginia Woolf, who can only find solace in
controlling the characters' lives in her books and would prefer
death to living in Richmond!
Moore, too, is riveting as a controlled housewife, having decisions
made for her, while Streep plays the perfect hostess who has tried
to control her own life.
The film is superbly held together by an excellent supporting
cast; with Stephen Dillane, as Woolf's patient husband, Leonard,
and Ed Harris, as the tormented poet, to name but two.
The result is an intelligent, thought-provoking, beautifully-crafted
film, which leaves you feeling ready to face what life may throw
It has deservedly won the best picture Golden Globe and will
no doubt inspire a new generation to read Virginia Woolf.