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The Hours (film)

The Hours (film)

Overview
The Hours is a 2002 drama film
Drama film
A drama film is a film genre that depends mostly on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, poverty, class divisions, violence against women...

 directed by Stephen Daldry
Stephen Daldry
Stephen David Daldry, CBE is an English theatre and film director and producer, as well as a three-time Academy Award nominated and Tony Award winning director.-Early years:...

, and starring Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman
Nicole Mary Kidman, AC is an American-born Australian actress, singer, film producer, spokesmodel, and humanitarian. After starring in a number of small Australian films and TV shows, Kidman's breakthrough was in the 1989 thriller Dead Calm...

, Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep is an American actress who has worked in theatre, television and film.Streep made her professional stage debut in 1971's The Playboy of Seville, before her screen debut in the television movie The Deadliest Season in 1977. In that same year, she made her film debut with...

, Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore is an American actress and a children's book author. Throughout her career, she has been nominated for four Oscars, six Golden Globes, three BAFTAs and nine Screen Actors Guild Awards....

 and Ed Harris
Ed Harris
Edward Allen "Ed" Harris is an American actor, writer, and director, known for his performances in Appaloosa, Radio, The Rock, The Abyss, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, A History of Violence, and The Truman Show. Harris has also narrated commercials for The Home Depot and other companies...

. The screenplay by David Hare
David Hare (playwright)
Sir David Hare is an English playwright and theatre and film director.-Early life:Hare was born in St Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings, East Sussex, the son of Agnes and Clifford Hare, a sailor. He was educated at Lancing, an independent school in West Sussex, and at Jesus College, Cambridge...

 is based on the 1999 Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

-winning novel of the same title
The Hours (novel)
The Hours is a 1998 novel written by Michael Cunningham. It won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the 1999 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and was later made into an Oscar-winning 2002 movie of the same name starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore.-Plot introduction:The book...

 by Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham is an American writer, best known for his 1998 novel The Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1999.-Early life and education:...

.

The plot focuses on three women of different generations whose lives are interconnected by the novel
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century....

. Among them are Clarissa Vaughan (Streep), a New Yorker preparing an award party for her AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

-stricken long-time friend and poet, Richard (Harris) in 2001; Laura Brown (Moore), a pregnant 1950s California housewife with a young boy and an unhappy marriage; and Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century....

 herself (Kidman) in 1920s England, who is struggling with depression and mental illness whilst trying to write her novel.

The film was released in Los Angeles and New York City on Christmas Day 2002, and was given a limited release
Limited release
Limited release is a term in the American motion picture industry for a motion picture that is playing in a select few theaters across the country ....

 in the US and Canada two days later on December 27, 2002.
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Quotations

Leonard, I believe I may have a first sentence.

Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.

A woman's whole life in a single day. Just one day. And in that day her whole life.

It's on this day. This day of all days. Her fate becomes clear to her.

I can't think of anything more exhilarating than a trip to London.

I am saying, Vanessa, that even crazy people like to be asked.

Did it matter, then, she asked herself, walking toward Bond Street. Did it matter that she must inevitably cease, completely. All this must go on without her. Did she resent it? Or did it not become consoling to believe that death ended absolutely? It is possible to die. It is possible to die.

I've been attended by doctors, who inform me of my own interests.

I am ungrateful? You call me ungrateful? My life has been stolen from me. I'm living in a town I have no wish to live in. I'm living a life I have no wish to live. How did this happen?

Encyclopedia
The Hours is a 2002 drama film
Drama film
A drama film is a film genre that depends mostly on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, poverty, class divisions, violence against women...

 directed by Stephen Daldry
Stephen Daldry
Stephen David Daldry, CBE is an English theatre and film director and producer, as well as a three-time Academy Award nominated and Tony Award winning director.-Early years:...

, and starring Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman
Nicole Mary Kidman, AC is an American-born Australian actress, singer, film producer, spokesmodel, and humanitarian. After starring in a number of small Australian films and TV shows, Kidman's breakthrough was in the 1989 thriller Dead Calm...

, Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep is an American actress who has worked in theatre, television and film.Streep made her professional stage debut in 1971's The Playboy of Seville, before her screen debut in the television movie The Deadliest Season in 1977. In that same year, she made her film debut with...

, Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore is an American actress and a children's book author. Throughout her career, she has been nominated for four Oscars, six Golden Globes, three BAFTAs and nine Screen Actors Guild Awards....

 and Ed Harris
Ed Harris
Edward Allen "Ed" Harris is an American actor, writer, and director, known for his performances in Appaloosa, Radio, The Rock, The Abyss, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, A History of Violence, and The Truman Show. Harris has also narrated commercials for The Home Depot and other companies...

. The screenplay by David Hare
David Hare (playwright)
Sir David Hare is an English playwright and theatre and film director.-Early life:Hare was born in St Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings, East Sussex, the son of Agnes and Clifford Hare, a sailor. He was educated at Lancing, an independent school in West Sussex, and at Jesus College, Cambridge...

 is based on the 1999 Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

-winning novel of the same title
The Hours (novel)
The Hours is a 1998 novel written by Michael Cunningham. It won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the 1999 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and was later made into an Oscar-winning 2002 movie of the same name starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore.-Plot introduction:The book...

 by Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham is an American writer, best known for his 1998 novel The Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1999.-Early life and education:...

.

The plot focuses on three women of different generations whose lives are interconnected by the novel
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century....

. Among them are Clarissa Vaughan (Streep), a New Yorker preparing an award party for her AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

-stricken long-time friend and poet, Richard (Harris) in 2001; Laura Brown (Moore), a pregnant 1950s California housewife with a young boy and an unhappy marriage; and Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century....

 herself (Kidman) in 1920s England, who is struggling with depression and mental illness whilst trying to write her novel.

The film was released in Los Angeles and New York City on Christmas Day 2002, and was given a limited release
Limited release
Limited release is a term in the American motion picture industry for a motion picture that is playing in a select few theaters across the country ....

 in the US and Canada two days later on December 27, 2002. It did not receive a wide release
Wide release
Wide release is a term in the American motion picture industry for a motion picture that is playing nationally . Specifically, a movie is considered to be in wide release when it is on 600 screens or more in the United States and Canada.In the US, films holding an NC-17 rating almost never have a...

 in the US until January 2003, and was then released in UK cinemas on Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day
Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496...

 that year. Critical reaction to the film was mostly positive, The Hours received nine Academy Award nominations including Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Picture
The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

 and Nicole Kidman won an Oscar at the 2003 Academy Awards
75th Academy Awards
The 75th Academy Awards honored the best films of 2002, were held on March 23, 2003, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. It was produced by Gil Cates and hosted for the second time by Steve Martin....

 for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf.

Plot


With the exception of the opening and final scenes, which depict the 1941 suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 by drowning of Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century....

 (Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman
Nicole Mary Kidman, AC is an American-born Australian actress, singer, film producer, spokesmodel, and humanitarian. After starring in a number of small Australian films and TV shows, Kidman's breakthrough was in the 1989 thriller Dead Calm...

) in the River Ouse
River Ouse, Sussex
The River Ouse is a river in the counties of West and East Sussex in England.-Course:The river rises near Lower Beeding and runs eastwards into East Sussex, meandering narrowly and turning slowly southward...

, the action takes place within the span of a single day in three different years, and alternates among them throughout the film. In 1923, renowned author Woolf has begun writing the book Mrs. Dalloway in her home in the town of Richmond in suburban London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. In 1951, troubled Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 housewife Laura Brown (Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore is an American actress and a children's book author. Throughout her career, she has been nominated for four Oscars, six Golden Globes, three BAFTAs and nine Screen Actors Guild Awards....

) tries to find escape from her dreary existence by reading Mrs. Dalloway. In 2001, New Yorker
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep is an American actress who has worked in theatre, television and film.Streep made her professional stage debut in 1971's The Playboy of Seville, before her screen debut in the television movie The Deadliest Season in 1977. In that same year, she made her film debut with...

) is the embodiment of the title character of Mrs. Dalloway as she spends the day preparing for a party she is hosting in honor of her friend Richard (Ed Harris
Ed Harris
Edward Allen "Ed" Harris is an American actor, writer, and director, known for his performances in Appaloosa, Radio, The Rock, The Abyss, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, A History of Violence, and The Truman Show. Harris has also narrated commercials for The Home Depot and other companies...

), a poet and author living with AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 who is to receive an award for career achievement. Richard often refers to Clarissa as "Mrs. Dalloway".

Virginia, who has experienced several nervous breakdown
Nervous breakdown
Mental breakdown is a non-medical term used to describe an acute, time-limited phase of a specific disorder that presents primarily with features of depression or anxiety.-Definition:...

s and suffers from recurring bouts of severe depression
Clinical depression
Major depressive disorder is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities...

, feels trapped in her home. Intimidated by her servants, Nelly and Lottie, and constantly monitored by her husband Leonard
Leonard Woolf
Leonard Sidney Woolf was an English political theorist, author, publisher and civil servant, and husband of author Virginia Woolf.-Early life:...

 (Stephen Dillane
Stephen Dillane
Stephen J. Dillane is an English actor. He won a Tony Award for his lead performance in Tom Stoppard's play The Real Thing.-Early life:...

), who operates the Hogarth Press
Hogarth Press
The Hogarth Press was founded in 1917 by Leonard Woolf and Virginia Woolf. It was named after their house in Richmond, in which they began hand-printing books....

 at home in order to be close to her at all times, Woolf both welcomes and dreads an afternoon visit from her sister Vanessa
Vanessa Bell
Vanessa Bell was an English painter and interior designer, a member of the Bloomsbury group, and the sister of Virginia Woolf.- Biography and art :...

 (Miranda Richardson
Miranda Richardson
Miranda Jane Richardson is an English stage, film and television actor. She has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and has won two Golden Globes and a BAFTA during her career....

) and her children. After their departure, Virginia flees to the railway station where she is awaiting a train to central London when Leonard arrives to bring her home. He expresses his distress at living in constant fear of her making a further attempt on her life; she replies that she also lives under the permanent threat of a return to mental illness, but argues that she has to live as she is and not seek a refuge from the reality of her identity.

Pregnant with her second child, Laura spends her days in her tract home
Tract housing
Tract housing is a style of housing development in which multiple similar homes are built on a tract of land which is subdivided into individual small lots...

 with her young son, Richie. She married her husband, Dan (John C. Reilly
John C. Reilly
John Christopher Reilly, Jr. is an American film and theater actor, singer, and comedian. Debuting in Casualties of War in 1989, he is one of several actors whose careers were launched by Brian De Palma. To date, he has appeared in more than fifty films, including three separate films in 2002...

), soon after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and on the surface they are living the American Dream
American Dream
The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States in which freedom includes a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each...

; she is nevertheless, deeply unhappy. She and Richie prepare a birthday cake for Dan's birthday, but the end result is a disaster. Her neighbor Kitty (Toni Collette
Toni Collette
Antonia "Toni" Collette is an Australian actress and musician, known for her acting work on stage, television and film as well as a secondary career as the lead singer of the band Toni Collette & the Finish....

) unexpectedly drops in to ask her if she can feed her dog while she's in the hospital undergoing a medical procedure. Kitty is pretending to be upbeat. Laura senses her fear and boldly kisses her on the lips, a gesture Kitty accepts, although she ignores any hidden meaning it may have had. With renewed determination, Laura successfully bakes another cake, cleans the kitchen, and then takes Richie to stay with Mrs. Latch (Margo Martindale
Margo Martindale
Margo Martindale is an American stage, television and film actress. In 2011, Martindale won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as Mags Bennett on Justified.-Early life:...

) while she supposedly runs some errands before dinner. Instead she checks into a luxury hotel, where she intends to commit suicide. Laura sits down on the bed and removes several bottles of pills and Woolf's novel from her purse. She begins to read Mrs. Dalloway and drifts off to sleep. Awakening from a dream in which the hotel room was flooded, she has a change of heart, picks up Richie, and returns home, where the family celebrates Dan's birthday.

Clarissa, stressed about the celebration dinner she is planning for Richard, particularly because of his increasingly debilitating illness, is highly nervous as she tries to accomplish all she needs to do before Richard's award ceremony. The two were romantic during their college days, but he has spent the better part of his life engaging in gay
Gay
Gay is a word that refers to a homosexual person, especially a homosexual male. For homosexual women the specific term is "lesbian"....

 relationships, including one with Louis Waters (Jeff Daniels
Jeff Daniels
Jeffrey Warren "Jeff" Daniels is an American actor, musician and playwright. He founded a non-profit theatre company, the Purple Rose Theatre Company, in his home state of Michigan...

), who left him years ago but is returning to Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 from his home in San Francisco for the festivities. Clarissa herself is a lesbian who has been living with Sally Lester (Allison Janney
Allison Janney
Allison Brooks Janney is an American actress, best known for her role as C.J. Cregg on the television series The West Wing.- Personal life :...

) for 10 years, and the mother of university student Julia (Claire Danes
Claire Danes
Claire Catherine Danes is an American actress of television, stage and film. She has appeared in roles as diverse as Angela Chase in My So-Called Life, as Juliet in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, as Kate Brewster in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, as Yvaine in Stardust and as Temple Grandin in...

), both of whom are trying to help her prepare. Eventually, Richard is revealed to be Laura Brown's son, Richie. When Clarissa arrives at his apartment to help him dress for the ceremony, she finds him in a manic
Mania
Mania, the presence of which is a criterion for certain psychiatric diagnoses, is a state of abnormally elevated or irritable mood, arousal, and/ or energy levels. In a sense, it is the opposite of depression...

 state. Perched on the window ledge, he confesses he has struggled to stay alive for Clarissa's sake but, no longer willing to live with his illness, he throws himself out a window
Defenestration
Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window.The term "defenestration" was coined around the time of an incident in Prague Castle in the year 1618. The word comes from the Latin de- and fenestra...

 to his death. Later that night Laura, having been notified of her son's suicide by Clarissa, arrives at her apartment. Laura reveals that her decision to abandon her family after the birth of her daughter was one she felt she needed to make in order to maintain her sanity.

Cast


1923
  • Nicole Kidman
    Nicole Kidman
    Nicole Mary Kidman, AC is an American-born Australian actress, singer, film producer, spokesmodel, and humanitarian. After starring in a number of small Australian films and TV shows, Kidman's breakthrough was in the 1989 thriller Dead Calm...

     as Virginia Woolf
    Virginia Woolf
    Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century....

  • Stephen Dillane
    Stephen Dillane
    Stephen J. Dillane is an English actor. He won a Tony Award for his lead performance in Tom Stoppard's play The Real Thing.-Early life:...

     as Leonard Woolf
    Leonard Woolf
    Leonard Sidney Woolf was an English political theorist, author, publisher and civil servant, and husband of author Virginia Woolf.-Early life:...

  • Miranda Richardson
    Miranda Richardson
    Miranda Jane Richardson is an English stage, film and television actor. She has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and has won two Golden Globes and a BAFTA during her career....

     as Vanessa Bell
    Vanessa Bell
    Vanessa Bell was an English painter and interior designer, a member of the Bloomsbury group, and the sister of Virginia Woolf.- Biography and art :...

  • Lyndsey Marshal
    Lyndsey Marshal
    Lyndsey Marshal is an English actress best known for her performance in The Hours as the recurring character Cleopatra on HBO's Rome, and as Lady Sarah Hill in BBC period drama Garrow's Law.-Biography:...

     as Lottie Hope
  • Linda Bassett
    Linda Bassett
    Linda Bassett is an English actress, who is well known in the United Kingdom for her film career.Bassett was born in Kent, England to a typist mother and a police officer father. Her roles include the award-winning part of Ella Khan in the 1999 British comedy film East is East...

     as Nelly Boxall

1951
  • Julianne Moore
    Julianne Moore
    Julianne Moore is an American actress and a children's book author. Throughout her career, she has been nominated for four Oscars, six Golden Globes, three BAFTAs and nine Screen Actors Guild Awards....

     as Laura Brown
  • John C. Reilly
    John C. Reilly
    John Christopher Reilly, Jr. is an American film and theater actor, singer, and comedian. Debuting in Casualties of War in 1989, he is one of several actors whose careers were launched by Brian De Palma. To date, he has appeared in more than fifty films, including three separate films in 2002...

     as Dan Brown
  • Jack Rovello as Richie Brown
  • Toni Collette
    Toni Collette
    Antonia "Toni" Collette is an Australian actress and musician, known for her acting work on stage, television and film as well as a secondary career as the lead singer of the band Toni Collette & the Finish....

     as Kitty
  • Margo Martindale
    Margo Martindale
    Margo Martindale is an American stage, television and film actress. In 2011, Martindale won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as Mags Bennett on Justified.-Early life:...

     as Mrs. Latch

2001
  • Meryl Streep
    Meryl Streep
    Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep is an American actress who has worked in theatre, television and film.Streep made her professional stage debut in 1971's The Playboy of Seville, before her screen debut in the television movie The Deadliest Season in 1977. In that same year, she made her film debut with...

     as Clarissa Vaughan
  • Ed Harris
    Ed Harris
    Edward Allen "Ed" Harris is an American actor, writer, and director, known for his performances in Appaloosa, Radio, The Rock, The Abyss, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, A History of Violence, and The Truman Show. Harris has also narrated commercials for The Home Depot and other companies...

     as Richard "Richie" Brown
  • Allison Janney
    Allison Janney
    Allison Brooks Janney is an American actress, best known for her role as C.J. Cregg on the television series The West Wing.- Personal life :...

     as Sally Lester
  • Claire Danes
    Claire Danes
    Claire Catherine Danes is an American actress of television, stage and film. She has appeared in roles as diverse as Angela Chase in My So-Called Life, as Juliet in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, as Kate Brewster in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, as Yvaine in Stardust and as Temple Grandin in...

     as Julia Vaughan
  • Jeff Daniels
    Jeff Daniels
    Jeffrey Warren "Jeff" Daniels is an American actor, musician and playwright. He founded a non-profit theatre company, the Purple Rose Theatre Company, in his home state of Michigan...

     as Louis Waters

Critical reception


The Hours currently has 81% positive reviews on the movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

, with 150 of 186 counted reviews giving it a "fresh" rating and an average rating of 7.4 out of 10 — with the consensus that "the movie may be a downer, but it packs an emotional wallop. Some fine acting on display here." On Metacritic
Metacritic
Metacritic.com is a website that collates reviews of music albums, games, movies, TV shows and DVDs. For each product, a numerical score from each review is obtained and the total is averaged. An excerpt of each review is provided along with a hyperlink to the source. Three colour codes of Green,...

, the film holds an average score of 81 out of 100, based on 39 reviews.

Stephen Holden of the New York Times called the film "deeply moving" and "an amazingly faithful screen adaptation" and added, "Although suicide eventually tempts three of the film's characters, The Hours is not an unduly morbid film. Clear eyed and austerely balanced would be a more accurate description, along with magnificently written and acted. Mr. Glass's surging minimalist score, with its air of cosmic abstraction, serves as ideal connective tissue for a film that breaks down temporal barriers."

Mick LaSalle
Mick LaSalle
Mick LaSalle is an American Mick LaSalle is an [[United States|American]] Mick LaSalle is an [[United States|American]] [[film reviewer] and the author of two books on pre-[[Motion Picture Production Code|Hays Code]] Hollywood...

 of the San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
thumb|right|upright|The Chronicle Building following the [[1906 San Francisco earthquake|1906 earthquake]] and fireThe San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California, but distributed throughout Northern and Central California,...

observed, "Director Stephen Daldry employs the wonderful things cinema can do in order to realize aspects of The Hours that Cunningham could only hint at or approximate on the page. The result is something rare, especially considering how fine the novel is, a film that's fuller and deeper than the book ... It's marvelous to watch the ways in which [David Hare] consistently dramatizes the original material without compromising its integrity or distorting its intent ... Cunningham's [novel] touched on notes of longing, middle-aged angst and the sense of being a small consciousness in the midst of a grand mystery. But Daldry and Hare's [film] sounds those notes and sends audiences out reverberating with them, exalted."

Richard Schickel
Richard Schickel
Richard Warren Schickel is an American author, journalist, and documentary filmmaker. He is a film critic for Time magazine, having also written for Life magazine and the Los Angeles Times Book Review....

 of Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

criticized its simplistic characterization, saying, "Watching The Hours, one finds oneself focusing excessively on the unfortunate prosthetic nose Kidman affects in order to look more like the novelist. And wondering why the screenwriter, David Hare, and the director, Stephen Daldry, turn Woolf, a woman of incisive mind, into a hapless ditherer." He also criticized its overt politicization: "But this movie is in love with female victimization. Moore's Laura is trapped in the suburban flatlands of the '50s, while Streep's Clarissa is moored in a hopeless love for Laura's homosexual son (Ed Harris, in a truly ugly performance), an AIDS sufferer whose relentless anger is directly traceable to Mom's long-ago desertion of him. Somehow, despite the complexity of the film's structure, this all seems too simple-minded. Or should we perhaps say agenda driven? The same criticisms might apply to the fact that both these fictional characters (and, it is hinted, Woolf herself) find what consolation they can in a rather dispassionate lesbianism. This ultimately proves insufficient to lend meaning to their lives or profundity to a grim and uninvolved film, for which Philip Glass unwittingly provides the perfect score — tuneless, oppressive, droning, painfully self-important."

Peter Travers
Peter Travers
Peter Travers is an American film critic, who has written for, in turn, People and Rolling Stone. Travers also hosts a celebrity interview show called Popcorn on ABC News Now and ABCNews.com.-Career:...

 of Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

awarded the film, which he thought "sometimes stumbles on literary pretensions," two out of four stars. He praised the performances, commenting, "Kidman's acting is superlative, full of passion and feeling ... Moore is wrenching in her scenes with Laura's son (Jack Rovello, an exceptional child actor). And Streep is a miracle worker, building a character in the space between words and worlds. These three unimprovable actresses make The Hours a thing of beauty."

Steve Persall of the St. Petersburg Times
St. Petersburg Times
The St. Petersburg Times is a United States newspaper. It is one of two major publications serving the Tampa Bay Area, the other being The Tampa Tribune, which the Times tops in both circulation and readership. Based in St...

said it "is the most finely crafted film of the past year that I never want to sit through again. The performances are flawless, the screenplay is intelligently crafted, and the overall mood is relentlessly bleak. It is a film to be admired, not embraced, and certainly not to be enjoyed for any reason other than its expertise ... Glacially paced and somberly presented, The Hours demands that viewers be as impressed with the production as the filmmakers are with themselves ... Whatever the reason - too gloomy, too slow, too slanted - [it] is too highbrow and admirably dull for most moviegoers. It's the kind of film that makes critics feel smarter by recommending it, even at the risk of damaging credibility with mainstream audiences who automatically think any movie starring Kidman, Streep and Moore is worth viewing. The Hours will feel like days for them."

Phillip French of The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

called it "a moving, somewhat depressing film that demands and rewards attention." He thought "the performances are remarkable" but found the Philip Glass score to be "relentless" and "over-amplified."

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

rated the film three out of five stars and commented, "It is a daring act of extrapolation, and a real departure from most movie-making, which can handle only one universe at a time . . . The performances that Daldry elicits . . . are all strong: tightly managed, smoothly and dashingly juxtaposed under a plangent score. I have to confess I am agnostic about Nicole Kidman, who as Woolf murmurs her lines through an absurd prosthetic nose. It's almost a Hollywood Disability. You've heard of Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis is an English actor with both British and Irish citizenship. His portrayals of Christy Brown in My Left Foot and Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood won Academy and BAFTA Awards for Best Actor, and Screen Actors Guild as well as Golden Globe Awards for the latter...

 and My Left Foot
My Left Foot (film)
My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown is a 1989 drama film directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Daniel Day-Lewis. It tells the true story of Christy Brown, an Irishman born with cerebral palsy, who could control only his left foot. Christy Brown grew up in a poor, working class family, and...

. This is Nicole and her Big Fake Schnoz. It doesn't look anything like the real Virginia's sharp, fastidious features . . . Julianne Moore gives [a] superbly controlled, humane performance . . . Streep's performance is probably the most fully realised of the three: a return to the kind of mature and demanding role on which she had a freehold in yesterday's Hollywood . . . Part of the bracing experimental impact of the film was the absence of narrative connection between the three women. Supplying one in the final reel undermines its formal daring, but certainly packs an emotional punch. It makes for an elegant and poignant chamber music of the soul."

Box office


The Hours opened in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 on Christmas Day
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 2002 and went into limited release in the United States and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 two days later. It grossed $1,070,856 on eleven screens in its first two weeks of release. On January 10, 2003, it expanded to 45 screens, and the following week it expanded to 402. On February 14 it went into wide release, playing in 1,003 theaters in the US and Canada. With an estimated budget of $25 million, the film eventually earned $41,675,994 in the US and Canada and $67,170,078 in foreign markets for a total worldwide box office of $108,846,072.
It was the 56th highest grossing film of 2002.

Soundtrack



The film's score by Philip Glass
Philip Glass
Philip Glass is an American composer. He is considered to be one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century and is widely acknowledged as a composer who has brought art music to the public .His music is often described as minimalist, along with...

 won the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music
BAFTA Award for Best Film Music
The Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music is an annual award given by British Academy of Film and Television Arts.-1960s:*1968 - The Lion in Winter - John Barry...

 and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score
Academy Award for Best Original Score
The Academy Award for Original Score is presented to the best substantial body of music in the form of dramatic underscoring written specifically for the film by the submitting composer.-Superlatives:...

 and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score
Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score
The Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score is one of several categories presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association , an organization of journalists who cover the United States film industry, but are affiliated with publications outside North America, since its institution in 1947...

. The soundtrack album
The Hours (soundtrack)
The Hours is the original soundtrack album, on the Elektra/Nonesuch label, of the 2002 film The Hours, starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore. The original score was composed by Philip Glass....

 was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
The Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media has been awarded since 1960. Until 2001 the award was presented to the composer of the music alone. From 2001 to 2006, the producer and engineers shared in this award...

.

External links