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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So many unhappy people
During the first couple minutes of THE HOURS, it's 1941 and author Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) commits suicide by walking into a river. That pretty much sets the tone of the film as a whole.
The body of the film skips back and forth among three timelines.
In 1923, Woolf is forced by physicians and her husband (Stephen Dillane) to live away from the...
Published on 13 Feb 2006 by Joseph Haschka

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars useless
it arived on time, well packaged. but it just wont play in my dvd player. up untill now its played every dvd ive played. the money involved is not worth all the hassel of returning.
Published 9 months ago by j arnold


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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So many unhappy people, 13 Feb 2006
By 
Joseph Haschka (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Hours [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
During the first couple minutes of THE HOURS, it's 1941 and author Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) commits suicide by walking into a river. That pretty much sets the tone of the film as a whole.
The body of the film skips back and forth among three timelines.
In 1923, Woolf is forced by physicians and her husband (Stephen Dillane) to live away from the center of London in a dreary suburb after two suicide attempts. The author resents her isolation, and tells her spouse that peace is not found by being shielded from the world at large. Virginia expresses her frustration by writing a book, "Mrs. Dalloway", in which the protagonist, while preparing for a dinner party, is confronted by events that raise into consciousness the shallowness and inadequacies of her life.
In 1951, Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), living in a Los Angeles middle-class housing tract with loving husband Dan (John C. Reilly) and young son, is reading "Mrs. Dalloway". Contemplating her lack of fulfillment in the roles of wife and mother, Laura bakes her husband's birthday cake, plans his party, and considers suicide.
In 2001 New York, Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) lives with her same-sex partner, while at the same time caring for ex-husband Richard (Ed Harris), who's dying of AIDS in a dark and cluttered flat. Richard is an award-winning poet, and Clarissa (nicknamed "Mrs. Dalloway" by her Richard) is planning a dinner party in honor of his accomplishments.
THE HOURS is a complex film, the heroines of its three subplots all linked by the threads of self-destruction, "Mrs. Dalloway", and the extreme emotional and psychological dissatisfaction each feels in the relationship with the man in her life. Clarissa is already in a lesbian liaison, and there are strong hints that the other two would welcome such. The performances of the four principle actors (Kidman, Moore, Streep, and Harris) are all of Oscar caliber.
There are perhaps as many messages to be gotten from THE HOURS as there are people who will view it. I perceived the velvet chains that bind two people in a relationship. ("That's what we do. We stay alive for one another". - Clarissa) Chains that may drive one to an exit of desperation if there's an absence of love, or the feeling of one's own self being smothered and not having a little patch of ground to call one's own. And the guilt we feel when those chains are broken, if even to the long-term advantage of self.
This is a splendid and brilliantly conceived film that deserves all the honors it will reap. The connection between the 1951 and 2001 timelines was cleverly done. But, for me, THE HOURS had one great flaw. It failed to establish any emotional attachment between the main characters and myself. Virginia was too sour, Laura too distant, and Clarissa too self-absorbed. I left the theater admiring the movie for its artistry more than I was moved by it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking and moving, 15 Jan 2006
By 
Helena Frith Powell (Abu Dhabi) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hours [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I thought this was one of the best films I have seen for years. Nicole Kidman is brilliant as Virginia Wolf and Meryl Streep as always a total joy to watch. The film was moving and intelligent, I didn't stop thinking about it for days after I had seen it. The only slightly dodgy bit was the kiss between Virginia and her sister, I wonder if that really happened? If it did I suppose they had to include it. But I found it a bit gratuitous. Apart from that though a real winner of a film which has totally inspired me to re-read Mrs Dalloway.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, Brilliantly Shot, 20 Mar 2006
By 
G Campbell "earthclanger" (West Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hours [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This excerpt from the life of the English novelist Virginia Woolf is worthy to watch if for the performances alone. Nicole Kidman shows a depth of understanding that does not belie her accolades. Streep is as watchable as ever, if a little over familiar as the vulnerable but determined woman. The scenery and
interior shots of a timeless English estate bare all the trademarks of Room With A view. Excellent pacing, although a little slow to get moving, but time did move a bit slower in the middle of the 20th century; especially in rural England. Much of this is set in Sussex in the South East. The switching between times is a little awkward and hard to fathom at first. A punchier treatment of the link between the novel would have helped. The soundtrack provided by Philip Glass with it's typical pulsating and stripped down sound is an excellent backdrop to the theme. Worth a second view.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliance in all creative areas with especially superb acting., 25 May 2009
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This review is from: The Hours [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
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.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "What did it mean to 'regret' when you had no choice?", 14 Nov 2004
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Hours [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Hours, becomes a riveting film under the direction of Stephen Daldrey. Transformed into a screenplay by David Hare, a British playwright who has won both the Olivier Award and the London Theatre Critics Award, the film features Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore as three women from three different time periods who face depression, dissatisfaction, and ultimately the option of suicide.
Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is neurasthenic and edgy, a survivor of two suicide attempts whose misery is palpable as she writes her novel Mrs. Dalloway in rural England in 1923. The novel, covering one day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, raises questions about the role of women, their ability to find satisfaction in their lives, the options open to them, and ultimately what they owe those who love them as opposed to what they owe themselves. A parallel plot concerns Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) in Los Angeles in 1951, a fragile woman who is trapped in her marriage, though her husband adores her and her young son depends on her. She is reading Woolf's novel as an escape. In the third plot, set in New York in 2001, Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep), lives like Mrs. Dalloway, "always giving parties to cover the silence." Here the party is for a friend (Ed Harris), dying of AIDS.
Complex, both visually and thematically, the film shifts back and forth in time, driven not by plot but by characters who are desperately unhappy and looking for ways to deal with their misery, even to the point of considering suicide. As the plots and times shift, the reader sees each woman becoming more desperate and her life becoming more fraught, until all plots intersect in the conclusion. Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey creates stunning, overlapping motifs to unify the scenes--a scene of Clarissa getting up, becomes a scene of Virginia Woolf getting up, and morphs into one of Laura Brown getting up, with her copy of Mrs. Dalloway beside the bed. Later, a morose Virginia Woolf stares at a dead bird, which becomes the face of Laura Brown, and then Clarissa Vaughan.
The acting is intense, as each woman faces a crisis in which suicide is considered, and there is little let-up or relief from this tension. The score by Philip Glass adds to the disquiet and connects the three stressful plots. Kidman, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress, plays Woolf without histrionics, while Moore and Streep show their emotions more overtly. Powerful in its execution, The Hours tells us "you cannot find peace by avoiding life." Mary Whipple
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously brilliant, 22 May 2005
By 
P. Bryant (Nottingham, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Hours [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Of all novels and films about writers, mostly so tiresome, repetitive and romantic in the worst sense, this movie actually takes the writer, the work and the reader seriously, believably. A great title - The Hours - because the hours are what we live in, not the years. The intricate links between the three sections, some subtle, some blatant, were like stitches in a tapestry, they always seemed exactly right. Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, the cooking, the suicides (two real, one attempt), the stories in the books and the books in the stories, the food thrown in the rubbish bins, mental illness, physical illness (this was no comedy or easy affirmation of the value of life), the jealousy the unloved feel for the loved, the wrong partners (those poor wretched misplaced spouses, Leonard Woolf , Dan Brown, Kitty Barlow), the interior life of dread, the exterior life of arrangements and flowers, the appearance of success, the reality of disappointment, the sometimes half realisation of the wrong partners that they are the wrong partners, haplessly attempting through love to give their loved ones happiness but instead only managing to construct prisons. Clarissa Vaughan keeps her own true love locked up in a room ("I only stay alive for you") and Leonard has created the Hogarth Press not for the sake of English literature but as therapy for Virginia - but she says "My life has been stolen from me. I choose not the suffocating anaesthetic of the suburbs but the violent jolt of the capital".
We see exactly why Laura Brown and later her son Richard Brown want to die, but Virginia Woolf's madness was just there, there is no aetiology available (RD Laing notwithstanding) - and this is the real mess of life. The painful struggle of Virginia Woolf, the blend of luminous intelligence and craziness - "Do you think one day I might escape?" (Clarissa Vaughan : "I seem to be unravelling")
What an agonising scene on the railway platform - mad people are not the best judge of their own fates but how cruel it is to have to tell them that - she says "only I can understand my own condition", he says "this is not you, this is an aspect of your illness"
Some actions were maybe a little too symbolic - Laura's son is imprisoned with a hated childminder, he makes a model house, then trashes it - a little heavyhanded? Movies should hit so hard you don't have the time to spot this kind of thing. For instance I have no idea why there are all those dogs in Amores Perros. But then - Laura's attempted suicide is a brilliant image (the water rushing into the hotel room).
Anyway, marvellous movie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars over rated and pretentious or thought provoking and deep?, 2 Aug 2009
By 
C. Edwards (Leeds U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hours [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Well, you know what my answer is if you look at the stars. The film is intense and visual, with strong and bold music. I found the combination enthralling and moving, the acting was similarly engaging for me. This is in my favourite twenty films of all time and likely to stay there.

WIll you like it? That's a difficult question... If you are a woman, enjoy visual presentations of emotion, are interested in the human condition, maybe enjoy a little virginia woolf then you stand a good chance of not wasting your time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hours - DVD, 4 April 2009
By 
M. Kucharek - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hours [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
For me this film is one of the best, most intelligent, sensitive, beautifully portrayed and moving films I have ever seen. The clever switching between scenes, times, characters as being the same, but different, for example a waking up in the morning of all three women, or a changing of a vase of flowers, projects you into one era out of another but with a sense of connectedness throughout. The atmosphere is truly one of a drama and thriller at the same time with a shocking unravelling towards the end where you come to realise how the individuals are actually deeply connected and what the significance even of the names of the characters is. The commentaries and the biography of Virginia Wolf are articulate, inspiring and hugely informative. As one commentator says, Virginia Wolf's suicide is seen as the culmination of her great life and achievements decided in a manner of clarity rather than as an act of desperation. Deeply sad for her loved ones but for her perhaps the only way out of the bio-polar disorder which she knew all too well was getting the better of her and which was intolerable to her. A brave, lucid, passionate, genius of a woman.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not let The Hours pass you by, 9 Aug 2004
By 
G. Meads (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hours [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Three women are linked together from different eras by their common yearnings, fears and societal perceptions of female representation. Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is battling insanity as she writes her first novel, Mrs Dalloway in the 1920's. Laura Brown (Julianne Moore)is a lonely 1950's house wife. She reads Mrs Dalloway and is so inspired by the lead character that she considers changing her life drastically. Clarrisa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) is a modern day Mrs Dalloway. Residing in New York, her life revolves around helping others in order to avoid her own feelings about herself. Her friend (played by Ed Harris) is dying of aids and she plans a party for him and excels at the details, just like Mrs Dalloway.
This remarkable film shouldn't work but does due the sterling performances and solid direction. The complex subject matters of mental illness, representation of women through the ages, the blurred lines of sexuality, and what makes a "good" mother are not exactly multiplex fodder. True, the film will not appeal to everyone, but Stephen Daldry manages to take Michael Cunningham's celebrated novel and bring it to life with stunning insight and empathy. This director brings the same touch of brilliance that he delivered in Billy Elliot most poignant scenes. The juxtapostion of scenes here are full of meaning. Clarrissa cracks eggs furiously filling her life with the monor details that distract others from asking her how she feels. As Clarissa washes her face and stares into the mirror at the lines on her face, she feels lost and unrecognisable. In an earlier shot, Viginia Woolf undergoes the same feelings of "Who am I? What is my role in society?" Later on in the film Laura Brown cracks eggs with very little confidence showing us how fragility and lack of self esteem can affect a mother/son relationship. The Hours is sometimes like looking at a beautiful picture in an art gallery. You stare at it and surrender to the hidden meanings if you are patient enough to explore them.
Each actress excels. Kidman surprises the audience at every turn displaying the coldness of Woolf well, but also her inner heartache. Her best scenes are with Stephen Dillane who is also wonderful as her loyal husband. Moore plays a "mother" who does not know how to live up to the role and wants more from her life. Her excellent body language lets the audience know how fragile Laura Brown really is. Streep gives a career best performance as the matriarchal Clarrisa Vaughan. Her scenes with Ed Harris provide us with a back story. She manages to make Clarissa needy and equally independent when it suits. Her character is a lesbian and Streep avoids playing it stereotypically. Toni Collette, Ed Harris, Miranda Richardson, Allison Janney and John C. Reilly have to be the most starry supporting cast ever. Each of them add something special to this already excellent ensemble piece. Kidman may have received the Academy Award but to be honest - all of these performers are worthy winners as each of them embrace the "difficult" material.
Phillip Glass provides the haunting soundtrack which acts as the glue that links these three remarkable women. Each time you hear an opening bar, you will find yourself moved by the sheer majesty. It is very rare that you find a film with such well written female characters of a certain age. But when you see the quality of work that is delivered here, you may be wondering why there aren't more films like this one. Although the subject matter is not exactly light, The Hours is far from maudlin. This is a beautiful film of real depth and magnitude. If you want to see a film featuring skin deep performances that explores themes and issues that leave you thinking long after the credits gone, then give up two hours for this rich and rewarding piece of celluloid.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL AND MOVING, 3 Jan 2007
By 
B. Mehmet "birol40" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hours [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I was extremely anxious about a film that was going to have all three of my favourite actresses playing the lead roles. What a revelation - The Hours is without a shadow of a doubt my favourite film of all time. Nicole Kidman`s performance as Virginia Woolf was exemplary, beautifully capturing her moments of madness and her desire to escape rural England and ultimately her life. Julianne Moore was superb as the 1950s wife living the perfect life with her loving husband and cute little boy, but nonetheless feeling trapped. And of course the brilliant Meryl Streep living in modern New York and planning a party for her author friend Ed Harris who is dying of AIDS. I would have thought translating Michael Cunningham's book of the same name to the screen would have been quite challenging, but Stephen Daldry has done an exceptional job in telling the three stories whilst showing how they are all intricately linked. I must also mention that the music perfectly complemented the movie and the supporting cast, including Toni Collette and Miranda Richardson, were also superb. An absolutely riveting, powerful, deeply moving film that will have you engrossed from the very first frame until the credits start to roll. .
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The Hours [DVD] [2003]
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