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The Hours


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The Hours (2002)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Ed Harris, Toni Collette
  • Directors: Stephen Daldry
  • Writers: David Hare, Michael Cunningham
  • Producers: Ian MacNeil, Marieke Spencer, Mark Huffam, Michael Alden, Robert Fox
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.0), French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: June 24, 2003
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (515 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JKTI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,612 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Hours" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Filmmakers introduction
  • 4 featurettes:
  • "Three Women"
  • "The Mind and Times of Virginia Woolf"
  • "The Music of The Hours
  • "The Lives of Mrs. Dalloway"

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

THE HOURS tells the story of three very different individuals who share the feeling that they have been living their lives for someone else. Virginia Woolf (Kidman) lives in a suburb of London in the 1920’s as she struggles to begin writing her first great novel, Mrs. Dalloway, while also attempting to overcome the mental illness that threatens to engulf her. Laura Brown (Moore), a young wife and mother in post-World War II Los Angeles, is just starting to read Mrs. Dalloway, and is so deeply affected by it that she begins to question the life she has chosen for herself. Then, in contemporary New York City, Clarissa Vaughan (Streep) is a modern-day mirror image of Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway as she plans what may be the final party for her friend and former lover, Richard (Harris), who is dying of AIDS.

Amazon.com

Delicate and hypnotic, The Hours interweaves three stories with remarkable skill: in the 1920s Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) grapples with her inner demons and slowly works on her novel Mrs. Dalloway; in 1949 housewife Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) feels her own destructive impulses; and in 1999 book editor Clarissa Vaughn (Meryl Streep)--much like the title character of Woolf's novel--prepares to throw a party, in honor of her dearest friend, a seriously ill poet (Ed Harris). Small details reverberate from story to story as a powerhouse cast (including Allison Janney, Toni Collette, Claire Danes, Jeff Daniels, John C. Reilly, Stephen Dillane, and Miranda Richardson) gives subtle and beautifully modulated performances. In the hands of director Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot), The Hours is almost more a piece of music than a story, and like music, it may move you in unexpected ways. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

150 of 162 people found the following review helpful By J. Michael Click on January 17, 2003
An intelligent and lyrical film adaptation of Michael Cunningham's exquisite Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the ways in which any person's life can be drastically altered during the course of a seemingly normal day. The story cuts back and forth between three women's stories: in 1923, novelist Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is writing her novel "Mrs. Dalloway" while recuperating from a mental breakdown; in 1950's Los Angeles, housewife Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) is reading Woolf's book and feeling a growing sense of desperation about her bland suburban existence; and in 2001 New York, middle-aged Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) is planning a party to honor a dying friend (Ed Harris) who has referred to her by the nickname "Mrs. Dalloway" since their youthful affair many years previously. Like Cunningham's book, the film spins all three stories simultaneously, pointing out the similarities and differences between each of the women's lives; and then finally ties all three threads together in a spectacularly clever and thought-provoking twist that reveals the larger pattern of the plot (some audiences members in the theatre where I saw the film actually gasped aloud as they began to understand).
As befits such a character-driven film, the acting in "The Hours" is uniformly superb. Meryl Streep is luminous throughout as Clarissa, but particularly shines in her final scenes as she welcomes a stranger into her home; and Julianne Moore brings a fascinating combination of fragility and power to the role of the repressed Laura.
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Only-A-Child VINE VOICE on June 9, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"The Hours" more than lives up to its critical praise. If nothing else it is a must see for the originality of the technique. The film (and the book by Michael Cunningham) is structured around the process of linking up three stories set at different points in time. Each story concerns a woman trying to define herself, to identify what she needs, and to find a way to get it.

The 1920's story concerns Virginia Woolf's (Kidman) efforts to write her first successful novel, "Mrs. Dallaway"; which is the story of one day in the life of a woman named Clarissa Dallaway. The story set in the early 1950's concerns a Laura Brown (Moore) who is reading "Mrs. Dallaway". Finally the contemporary story concerns Clarissa Vaughn (Streep) who is essentially living Mrs. Dallaway's life in modern NYC. All three performances are extraordinary in their own unique ways and there are wonderful performances from all members of the supporting cast. It is as if each member of the ensemble brought out the best in each other.

Some interesting and not always obvious things to look for as you watch "The Hours" are:

Each story begins with the husband/lover of each woman leading the camera to the woman. All three women are found in bed and this begins a match cut process that will repeat itself throughout the film as the director and editor work to connect and unify the three separate stories. Woolf writes: "Mrs. Dallaway said she would buy the flowers herself" just as Laura Brown reads that sentence and Clarissa speaks that sentence.

Kidman's Woolf is an amazing character. She is a psychological mess, making life difficult for those around her and full of torment and despair. Yet she has a subtle charm that helps you to understand why people found her fascinating.
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90 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Mathias on April 29, 2003
Format: DVD
The writer of this film has achieved the impossible in the movie business: create an intruiging, beautiful, yet filmable version of a very untheatrical novel. And boy do they succeed.
The film focuses around three women, remarkably portrayed by Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman.
Kidman is Virginia Woolf, whom is the key in the plot and a link between the other two characters. As she begins to write "Mrs. Dalloway," perhaps her most famous novel, we see events unfolding in a single day in the lives of two other women in different locations and time periods:
Pregnant Laura Brown, in a haunting, nearly silent performance by Moore mainly opposite a small boy, is coming to terms with the fact that she is miserable in her marriage to the humble and loving Dan (John C. Reilly). One of her only comforts is reading Virginia Woolf, in the film mainly "Mrs. Dalloway."
The third woman is Clarissa Vaughn, in a wonderful performance by Streep, whose link to Woolf is that she is actually living the novel "Mrs. Dalloway," except in present-day New York.
As the single day unfolds, the emotions and personalities of the characters are the main focus, much like in Woolf's novels, and the seamless edits and chilling Phillip Glass score contribute to the overall sad mood.
All in all, the transition from book to movie is highly successful and smooth, the performances are marvelous, and director Stephen Daldry proves once again how talented he is in his craft.
I can also provide evidence for those reading negative reviews: the short running time in one review is actually pushing two hours, and comments about "no plot" are made with little knowledge of Virginia Woolf; the plot is the character, and I was as entertained with this movie as any of the other critically hailed films this year.
****/****.
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