The Hours tells the story of three women: Virginia Woolf, beginning to write Mrs. Dalloway as she recuperates in a London suburb with her husband in 1923; Clarissa Vaughan, beloved friend of an acclaimed poet dying from AIDS, who in modern-day New York is planning a party in his honor; and Laura Brown, in a 1949 Los Angeles suburb, who slowly begins to feel the constraints of a perfect family and home. By the end of the novel, these three stories intertwine in remarkable ways, and finally come together in an act of subtle and haunting grace.
Cunningham's book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1999. The film, released in February of 2002, was nominated for nine Oscars, including a Best Actress nom for Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf. She won. While Kidman has been nominated for Moulin Rouge and Rabbit Hole, her performance in The Hours remains her only win.
She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day.
It may have something to do with her appearance; the usually gorgeous Kidman donned a beakish nose to play Virginia Woolf, downplaying her own good looks, allowing audiences and critics and Academy Award members to see her for what she is. A damn fine actress.
Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore also star as Clarissa Vaughn and Laura Brown, respectively for which Moore received a Best Supporting Actress nomination. Streep was ignored (for a change.)
“I will buy the flowers myself.’’
The film was directed by Steven Daldry from a script by David Hare, both of whom were nominated for Oscars. The exquisite costumes are by Ann Roth, also nominated. The trio worked collaborated again on The Reader and again, all three were nominated. As acclaimed as The Hours was, Kidman's was the only Academy win.
The Hours is available to stream on Amazon, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu and Google Play for a few dollars. It has been available on Netflix streaming from time to time so check at the time of this reading.
Have you read the book? Seen the movie?