Directed by Stephen Daldry ("Billy Elliot").
Written by David Hare. Based on the book by Michael
Starring Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 1/9/03
It’s been getting killer reviews and great
buzz, so I just had to check out the new drama “The Hours.” Damn
near the whole universe is in the film—besides leads Meryl Streep,
Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman, we’ve got a little Ed Harris, a
taste of Claire Danes, “No, I’m Not Dead” Jeff Daniels and even “The
West Wing” star Allison Janney! So, after walking out of the
theater, I kept asking myself—
What’s all the fuss about?
Don’t get me wrong, “The Hours” is a solid
drama. The very broad overview is that “The Hours” is a
three-pronged story based around the Virginia Woolf novel “Mrs.
Dalloway”, and we follow three women—Woolf (Kidman) herself, in 1923
Richmond, England; Clarissa (Streep) in 2001 New York City; and,
Laura (Moore) in 1951 Los Angeles—as they relay parts of the book
story to us in the audience. I’m only giving you the broad overview
because telling you more will give away parts of the book, but the
script requires your focus for the full running time and even going
off to the bathroom during this movie will cost you dearly. Based
on a book by Michael Cunningham, the plotlines for this film are
pretty complex, in terms of how each scene is laid out to the
emotions that run higher and harder as each scene goes on.
The performances by everyone in “The Hours”
are solid; Moore’s felt a little familiar, only because her
character in “Far From Heaven” was also bound in the 50s of America
and she had some major emotional problems later in that film. The
best performance here comes from director Stephen Daldry (“Billy
Elliot”), who somehow manages to keep all of this together; in the
hands of lesser directors, this would have been a total mess. It’s
still hard to keep up with this but Daldry’s direction has
everything running very smoothly and gives us very assured
performances from Harris, Streep and Miranda Richardson in
particular. Beautifully shot, the visuals in “The Hours” are very
good and make the most out of the limited settings due to the time
constraints of each scene’s timing (the movie basically takes place
over the course of one day).
If only I had taken a nap beforehand! “The
Hours” runs s l o w at times, and that almost totally knocked me out
of the running. The slow spots happen periodically, whether it is
Daldry’s tendency to stay on the faces of his three leads for too
long, or his reliance on a familiar-sounding musical score, or
whenever someone starts to cry, which is a lot here. For whatever
reason, “The Hours” feels long, even if it is a full 70 minutes
“The Two Towers.” But, I must have checked my watch
three times and I was relieved when things finally ended.
Speaking of which, the ending for “The
Hours” is good and tasty; one of the better endings of the year.
Too bad it didn’t come a little faster...
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard