Watch The Hours

"The time to hide is over. The time to regret is gone. The time to live is now."
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"The Hours" is, in some sense, a movie about feminism and difficult personal choices in the face of essentially torturous life circumstances. It begins with showing short scenes from seemingly unrelated lives. A common thread that runs through these different lives is the book "Mrs. Dalloway", written by Virginia Woolf. The end of the movie shows that these lives aren't as disconnected as it might initially seem and provides resolution for some of them, though painfully so.

The movie portrays the author Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) and her struggles with mental illness. It also shows how suffocating she found the expectations of life as a woman. She cannot happily relate to her own sister, who is content with the role of wife and mother and has no sympathy for how stifling that can be for some women. The movie shows Virginia's suicide, her ultimate means of escape.

Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) is a 1950's housewife and mother contemplating suicide to escape her suffocating life. We follow her day to day life enough to get some idea of how oppressive and hopeless it feels to her. In the process, we get some idea of why women fought so hard for the right to have certain choices. At the end of the movie, we meet her again and learn how her tale ultimately ends.

Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) is a modern New Yorker who superficially seems to have much of the freedoms that feminism promised. Yet, in some ways, her life is also "stuck". It becomes suddenly unstuck due to the suicide of a close friend, a former love with whom she has never managed to cut ties and who has been very ill for years.

Though some characters choose death and some choose life, each is affirming in some way. In each case, it is a choice to stop suffering. The complexity of those choices is portrayed compassionately. The ending manages to not be sad but, instead, hopeful and life affirming.

| 2002 | 1 hr 54 min | 7.5/10 | 80/100
Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, Stephen Dillane
Stephen Daldry
Produced By
Robert Fox, Scott Rudin

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