Friday, August 7, 2009

The Hours. C-


Even with the great performances, excellent direction and writing, superior technical credits, and mesmerizing score, in the end I just didn't really like 'The Hours,' a multi-generational and very bleak and depressing motion picture. It deals with three woman in thee different decades, all of whom can't seem to find happiness in their lives. The most notable of the three is Virginia Woolfe, played by a remarkably transfigured Nicole Kidman. Julianne Moore plays Laura Brown, a wife and mother living in Los Angeles in the 50s. Meryl Streep plays Clarissa Vaughan, an older woman living in the 2001. All three have remarkably similar lives. They each face some sort of mental depression, and they all have suicide on their minds. Now this sounds like a sweet, lovely story, doesn't it? I'm not quite sure what the overall point of the film, which is based off of Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, is. I suppose it shows a situation that some people actually face in life, and how those around them seem oblivious because they can't relate to it. In that case, the story involving Moore is brightest spot in the film. In one day she makes a cake (it's her husband's birthday), makes the mistake of allowing her son to witness her forbidden act with a neighbor, throws the cake away, makes another cake, goes to a hotel, considers suicide, and ends up in bed with her husband who is totally unaware of her situation. We can actually sort of feel her frustration. There's a surprise at the end of the movie that was hardly welcoming in that it took away any sympathy I had for Moore's character. In that sense, I had no sympathy for the other characters either, including Clarissa's friend Richard, played by Ed Harris. Harris, one of my favorite actors, is good here, but I simply hated his character. The only character I actually liked was Clarissa's daughter, played by Claire Danes. 'The Hours' opens and closes with a suicide act. Now my dislike wasn't merely because the film was depressing (there have been plenty of depressing films that I loved) but rather because it was depressing in such an unsettling way.

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