The Hours (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner10/02/2003

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 110 mins

Brilliantly acted and impressively directed, this has Oscar-bait written all over it, even if it doesn’t quite add up to the sum of its parts.

With the Oscar nominations due to be announced this week, only a fool would bet against the inclusion of any of the three actresses from The Hours, although it’s doubly interesting because both Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep are also likely to be nominated for their forthcoming roles in other (superior) films, Far From Heaven and Adaptation, respectively. As for Nicole Kidman, although she is equally brilliant in The Hours, only time will tell if Prosthetic Nose + No Make-up = Oscar Glory…

A Day In The Life…

The Hours is directed by Stephen ‘Billy Elliot’ Daldry, and adapted by playwright David Hare from Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

It follows one day in the life of three seemingly different women: novelist Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman And Her Amazing Prosthetic Nose), beginning her novel Mrs Dalloway (which also takes place over the course of a day); frustrated 1950s housewife Julianne Moore, who is reading Mrs Dalloway and contemplating drastic measures to escape her marriage to John C. Reilly (currently Cinema’s Most Ubiquitous Man, with no less than four films out at the moment); and modern-day New York socialite Meryl Streep, who, like Mrs Dalloway, is preparing a party…

The acting, not surprisingly, is excellent, with all three actresses on top form. Kidman’s nose takes a lot of getting used to, but it works because you end up focussing on her eyes, which she uses brilliantly to convey the intensity of her character. Moore is excellent too, though this performance will inevitably be overshadowed by her other 1950s housewife in the upcoming Far From Heaven.

Top Class Support

There’s a terrific supporting cast too, from Alison Janney as Meryl’s lover, to the likes of John C. Reilly (cornering the market in unsatisfactory husbands), Toni Collette (not in it for long, but brilliant), Miranda Richardson, Jeff Daniels and Claire Danes (it’s a pleasure to finally see her in a decent film again). Ed Harris is also on hand as Meryl’s dying poet friend, though he overdoes it a little and the conclusion to his storyline is laughable when it ought to be shocking and moving.

The Hours is brilliantly edited, particularly during the opening sequences when the film flits seamlessly between the three storylines. The use of sound is equally impressive in this respect.

However, despite its central trio of great performances, The Hours never really hits you the way it ought to – it’s entirely watchable but fails to properly engage on an emotional level, perhaps because of the coldness of some of the characters themselves.

In short, The Hours is definitely worth seeing for its line-up of Oscar-baiting performances (Daldry could be in with a shot too) but it’s likely to leave you with a nagging sense that there is something missing.

Film Trailer

The Hours (15)
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Content updated: 22/10/2017 09:16

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