Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Hours


The Hours; Drama, USA/ UK, 2002; D: Stephen Daldry, S: Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Ed Harris, Miranda Richardson, John C. Reilly, Jeff Daniels, Toni Collette, Claire Danes

1923. Virginia Woolf is writing the first page of her novel "Mrs. Dalloway" and at the same time suffering from depression. In hour hours, she prepares a party and persuades her husband to move back to London...1951. Laura is preparing a cake for her husband and is reading "Mrs. Dalloway". She leaves her little son Richard and contemplates about suicide, but changes her mind...2002. Clarissa is taking care of writer Richard, suffering from AIDS. He commits suicide.

After energetic drama "Billy Elliott", director Stephen Daldry achieved an even bigger success with sad-melancholic melodrama "The Hours" that won 2 Golden Globes (best actress Nicole Kidman, motion picture - drama), an Oscar (best actress N. Kidman) and 2 BAFTA awards (best actress N. Kidman, music). "The Hours" differ from conventional soap operas mostly due to the unusual structure that consists out of 3 stories that follow 24 hours in the lives of 3 heroines: Virginia Woolf who writes the first page of her book "Mrs. Dalloway"; Laura who is reading "Mrs. Dalloway" as well as Clarissa who nurtures Laura's grown up son, Richard (Ed Harris). Limiting the characters by only one time period, and then breaking that rule (Laura, as an old woman, appears in Clarissa's "chapter", that is separates her by 50 years), Daldry crystallized a highly stylish narrative, yet as a whole, "The Hours" are too pathetic and sentimental. A good counter-balance is only an occasional mild joke, like when Virginia comments that the guests are "barbarians because they came half an hour earlier to the party".

Grade:++

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