Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Hours (2002)

The 2002 Oscar nominated film, The Hours, based on Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, is about how one novel affects three separate women during three separate time periods, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.

In 1951, Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), a pregnant housewife, is planning a party for her husband, but she can't stop reading the depression-themed novel 'Mrs. Dalloway'. In 2001, Clarissa Vaughn (Meryl Streep), a modern woman is throwing a party for her friend Richard, a famous author dying of AIDS. In 1923, Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman), is writing that novel.

Taking place over one day, these three stories are interconnected as one is writing it, one is reading it, and one is living it, but it also goes beyond that because their hardships are so similar. The whole plot twists and comes together at the end. The basic theme of the film is wondering if it is better to live your life for your own happiness or others'. All three women feel that the life that they are living, isn't the life that they wanted for themselves. We all live our own lives, but sometimes our final hours don't mean as much to us as they do to other people.

The acting is simply amazing. Nicole Kidman's Academy Award winning perfomance is arguably the best as you don't recognize her at all, neither in appearance, nor in voice. Julianne Moore, nominated for supporting actress, and the perennially-nominated Meryl Streep give terrific performances. Ed Harris as the author suffering from AIDS was also nominated for an Academy Award. The other supportiing cast, including the kids, is excellent.

The brilliant acting, great perfectly edited story, fantastic direction by Stephen Daldry, excellent make-up and beautiful music composed by Philip Glass makes this one of those movies that stays with you forever.

Memorable Quotes:

Virginia Woolf : It's the end of civilization. People who are invited at 4 and arrive at 2:30.

Richard Brown: Who is this party for?
Clarissa Vaughan: What are you asking, what are you trying to say?
Richard Brown: I'm not trying to say anything. I think I'm staying alive just to satisfy you.
Clarissa Vaughn: That is what we do. That is what people do. They stay alive for each other.
Richard Brown: What about your own life? Just wait until I die, then you will have to think of yourself.
[next scene]
Clarissa Vaughn: He gives me that look, as if to say your life is so trivial.
Julia Vaughn: Mom, it only matters if you think it’s true.

Virginia Woolf: I'm dying in this town.
Leonard Woolf: If you were thinking clearly, Virginia, you would recall it was London that brought you low. We brought you to Richmond to give you peace.
Virginia Woolf: If I were thinking clearly, Leonard, I would tell you that I wrestle alone in the dark, in the deep dark, and that only I can know. Only I can understand my condition. You live with the threat, you tell me you live with the threat of my extinction. Leonard, I live with it too.
I wish, for your sake, Leonard, I could be happy in this quietness.
But if it is a choice between Richmond and death, I choose death.
You cannot find peace by avoiding life, Leonard.

Virginia Woolf: Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more.

Clarissa Vaughn: You don't have to go to the party, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. You can do as you like.
Richard Brown: But I still have to face the hours, don't I? I mean, the hours after the party, and the hours after that...
Clarissa Vaughn: You do have good days still... You know you do.
Richard Brown: Not really... I mean, it's kind of you to say so, but it's not really true.
I don't think two people could have been happier than we've been.

Laura Brown: It's a terrible thing, to outlive your entire family.
What does it mean to regret when you have no choice? It's what you can bear. And there it is... It was death. I chose life.

Virginia: To look life in the face, always, and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it, for what it is, and then, to put it away. Leonard, always the years between us, always the years, always the love, always... the hours...


Post a Comment

<< Home