• James Rutherford

'The Hours': An Elegant and Inspired Depiction of Virginia Woolf and Her Legacy of Liberation


 Movie poster for the film The Hours starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore

"The Hours" (2002) is an elegant and roundly impassioned drama chronicling three intertwining depictions of women connected by Virginia Woolf's famous novel "Mrs Dalloway". Nicole Kidman stars as Woolf, with Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore portraying disparate women diffusely linked to Woolf's landmark work of post-World War I fiction. Along the course of the alternating storyline, we follow Woolf from her home in England circa 1923 as she struggles against debilitating depression to complete "Mrs Dalloway"—her celebrated depiction of a day in the life of the titular London socialite. Concurrently, Laura Brown (Moore) resides in Los Angeles in 1951 with her young son, Richie, and yearns to escape the doldrums of her uninspired life. Her sole act of escapism comes through her immersion in Woolf's novel—fueling her desperate desire to flee her unassuming family. While in 2001, a modern-day Mrs. Dalloway named Clarissa Vaughan (Streep) spends the day preparing a lavish party for her former lover Richard (Ed Harris), an AIDS-stricken poet-author preparing to receive a major literary award. Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Michael Cunningham and directed by Stephen Daldry ("Billy Elliot", "The Reader"), "The Hours" is a bewitching tale of longing and provocation that pieces together a uniquely revelatory narrative around it's seemingly disparate central trio. Highlighted by Kidman in her Academy Award-winning depiction of the resolute and disconsolate scribe, it's a high-touch and emotionally enthralling tale of sentimentality, self-realization and transcendent liberation.

 

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