I have been moved to write this "review" by the comments of those who find this movie depressing. Great films/movies - call them what you will- leave an impression. The study of lives lived, of love and loss, is what great works of art are based upon be it a poem, an opera or a book. The Hours is multi layered in it's evolvement from Virginia Woolf to this form, it speaks to us of love and loss across decades.It is specific and general at the same time in the same way Brief Encounter or Now Voyager are dated and of their time in one way and yet timeless in another. Great acting, direction, photography and soundtrack combine to create a complete gesture and statement of the human condition. This is the opposite of cinema as purely "entertainment", it is cinema as reflexion, observation and is created to provoke thoughts and emotions. The Hours shocked me on my first viewing in my emotional response - I was not just moved but carried the impression of the film with me for weeks. I eventually watched it again some months later and again was deeply moved by the integrity of the film and all those involved.
It is about the creation, or invention, of real people by script, actor and director. It balances all the "fluff" thrown at the screen (There is one hopes a place for both in the cinema).Above all it has an emotional depth which will always divide people; it is certainly not a film to be ambivalant about. So.............."depressing" seems to be used as a word to cover a film which is not light, or entertaining but thought provoking and emotional. I would give it 10 stars if I could, but, with such a strong statement, this type of creativity will always produce strong responses. My response - Brilliant and superb in every possible way with stupendous acting from the entire cast.