The Hours

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating:Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements, some disturbing images and brief language 
Starring: Nicole Kidman Julianne Moore and Merryl Streep 
Directed By:Stephen Daldry 

Final Grade: 

Over the years I have spent as an English major, if there is one thing that I have learned by reading a lot of literature. The power of words can have a great effect on people, and sometimes those words can be life changing. Now I can’t say I have ever found that one book that has changed my life, except for maybe Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity (yes children, it was a BOOK before it became a John Cusack film). But never the less some people have that life changing catharsis due to the films they watch and the books they read. In the story of The Hours we see this idea in action.

Critically acclaimed as one of the “Best Movies of the Year” and nominated for Seven Golden Globe AwardsThe Hours was what I had thought was going to be a real pleasure to watch. The Hours is the story of Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) a unique author who is slowly losing it, who’s words pervade throughout time and affects the lives of 2 different women in different time periods. In one scenario we Meet Laura Brown, a housewife who is planning a Birthday party for her husband while reading Woolf’s novel. Her life is broken and falling apart and she finds comfort in the novel. We see her slowly cracking up, just like the author of the novel she is reading. In the other scenario we meet Clarissa Vaughn (Merryl Streep) a woman who struggles with finding what makes her happy and pleasing author and friend, Richard Brown who is dying of the AIDS virus. Academy Award Winner Nicole Kidman, an actress who has taken the world by storm and making a name for herself as of late is just there in this film. I have heard many comments from critics on how stunning the almost unrecognizable Kidman is in this film, but despite the difference in her appearance, I really found nothing to brag about for her in this one. As for Merryl Streep’s character I found some actual depth in her character, but it is nothing that makes her stand out as a great individual in this one. In fact I was more disappointed by her in this one after seeing her do such a stunning performance in Adaptation.

The Hours was filled with symolism, symbolism and well more symbolism. In fact there is so much the average moviegoer isn’t going to pick up on most of it. I felt the film relied heavily on it. The problem withThe Hours is that it simply took HOURS to go anywhere. The story seemed to jump from time period to time period, and place to place quickly. But just because the scenes change quickly does not mean the plot changes as rapidly. The plot moves along slowly like a tugboat on the ocean, dragging the audience along. By the time the movie got started, I just didn’t care anymore, and by the time it had finished I cared even less. I just never could get into The Hours. Even after watching it twice (yes I gave it a second chance to see if I missed anything) I still felt the whole film was a bore. The acting is what pulled the film together. We have a great cast, and a lot of talent that shows up on the screen. It’s the people (If anything), not the film that made The Hours shine.

So is it worth the cash? I honestly don’t think so. From a critical standpoint, I felt the movie had a lot to say, and had good intentions, but for the average moviegoer it’s more of a bore. Definitely one of those films I would put in Jason’s Love it or Hate it Category. There is no in between on this one. So if you are in the middle ground, save some cash rent it maybe…but well just try and enjoy a different movie. As for me, I am going against the grain. So forget what the other critics are telling you, this film just takes way to many HOURS to do absolutely nothing…. 

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