Home Arts-Entertainment Movies MUCH MADE OF 'THE HOURS' OF THREE WOMEN'S LIVES

MUCH MADE OF 'THE HOURS' OF THREE WOMEN'S LIVES

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March 27, 2003 – Once in a while, an American film comes along whose emotional and artistic honesty make it remarkable. "The Hours," most critics seem to agree, is such a film.
It weaves the life of one woman into the lives of two other women who are separated not only in time but in temperament.
The film is based on Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name — which, is, itself, based on Virginia Woolf's novel "Mrs. Dalloway," written in the 1920.
And the performances are equally remarkable. The reviewers are almost reverent. One says of Nicole Kidman's portrayal of the tormented Woolf (for which she just won a best actress Oscar): "She all but inhales the character and breathes out a creation as rich as her unfathomable inspiration." Kidman wears a prosthetic nose to make her more closely resemble Woolf and look less like a Hollywood actress.
The story starts with Woolf as she writes the opening lines of "Mrs. Dalloway" in the country house where she and husband have moved in the hope that the quiet would help chase away her chronic depression. It doesn't.
The story shifts to the two other women: Laura (Julianne Moore), a young 1950s California mother trying to make a birthday cake for her husband (John C. Reilly) while struggling with discontent and guilt over her feelings, and Clarissa (Meryle Streep), a brittle 2001 New York lesbian book editor nicknamed "Mrs. Dalloway" by her gay poet friend Richard Brown (Ed Harris), who is dying of AIDS despite Clarissa's campaign to save him.
The movie takes place over a single day (as does "Mrs. Dalloway"), exploring what Margaret A. McGurk of the Cincinnati Enquirer describes as "issues of love and death, duty and meaning, hope and despair, like jewels in the sunlight, releasing hidden bolts of brilliance."
The critics also praise English playwright David Hare, who wrote the screenplay from Cunningham's complicated book, and director Stephen Daldry (of "Billy Elliot").
The 115-minute movie is rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements, language and "some disturbing" images. It is playing at Market Square East.

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