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The Hours

 
 
Gala
 
Reply Mon 10 Mar, 2003 01:40 pm
I just saw the film yesterday and am still trying to decide who was more annoying; Nicole Kidman or Julianne Moore.

Overall, I found the film to be overwrought, romanticized ( heroine and hero plunge to their deaths, blah, blah... actors acting mentally and physically ill ) and self-indulgent. And I couldn't get past Kidmans honker. I'm going to have to haul myself to some mindless other movie, like the Queen Latifah one, just to recover.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,482 • Replies: 14
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Mar, 2003 03:14 pm
Haven't seen the film, but did read The Hours. I suspect the book was a little subtler than the film.

Re Queen Latifah: She's is in two films as we speak: Chicago, and the comedy with Steve Martin and Eugene Levy. I guess she's pretty good in both...
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Mar, 2003 04:47 pm
I just saw the film today, and had a completely different reaction. I found the film emotionally draining, beautifully acted and directed. I thought that Julianne Moore had the most difficult part of the three women. Most of her acting was shown through her facial expressions, rather than her words.

I am not a particular fan of Phillip Glass, but found that his music was the perfect counterpoint for the emotional accents in the film. It emitted an agitation that added to the drama of the work.
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Gala
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Mar, 2003 05:30 pm
Interesting Pheonix, you are so much more patient than I am. I'm still kicking myself for going to the movie. I even knew Phillip Glass did the score and beforehand thought : "Ug, repetitive (music) intensity that builds and recedes and there is never, ever any relief. Tedium. Overwrought tedium.

D'artagnan, The Steve Martin movie is the one I'm talking about. I haven't seen it yet but I skimmed a review where the critic is complaining about how white men are portrayed as bumbling idiots around black woman. I love it, that kind of mindless stuff keeps me sane.
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Lorna
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Mar, 2003 01:35 pm
Well, I liked The Hours only because I think Meryl Streep can do no wrong, I'm a writer and I like Miramax films as a whole, but other than that couldn't get into it, really. Worth seing, interesting, but missing something. Also, changed my opinion of NK. I used to think she couldn't act.

I went with two friends; one hated it, the other loved it, and I was in the middle. Literally.

It was nice to see Clare Danes again, too.

Lorna
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Mar, 2003 02:21 pm
I was so taken by this film that I put a hold on the book from my public library. What I was wondering is if there are different reactions from women who have and have not been around during the 1950s.

The Julianne Moore role captured perfectly the life of the middle class woman in the early 1950's. Her life revolved around home and family, with her own personal needs being practically a non-issue. Here she was, an introverted woman, with an adoring husband, who just wanted "to take care of her".

For the women of that era, the woman that Moore portrayed should have been ecstatically happy. She had everything that a woman was expected to want, and yet she was miserable to the point of considering suicide.

The problem was that no one had ever thought to consider what SHE wanted in life.
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couzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Mar, 2003 05:49 pm
Gala:
"The Hours" is a "slow to develop" thinking film. I guess you did not connect to the characters so it appeared boring to you. A film like this appeals to a specialized audience and it probably will not gross much over 50 million. ("Chicago" has grossed over 100 million to date and "Greek Wedding" has grossed over 200 million.)

I found "The Hours" engrossing and Julianne Moore's performance and her character held my attention...the tension in the scene between Moore and Toni Collette (her neighbor) plus the car scene when Moore leaves the her son with the baby sitter.

Moore's scene near the end when the camera moves in on her and she is breaking down took my breath away. The film's English director, Stephen Daldry, directed a much better performance from Moore than Todd Haynes did in "Far from Heaven".

"The Hours" was a more skilled film than "Far from Heaven" do to the vision and direction abilities of Mr. Daldry. The Golden Globes awarded "Hours" the best motion picture (drama) picture of the year plus Kidman picked up two best actress awards, one from the British Academy and the other from the Globes. Moore has been nominated for a supporting actress Oscar for her work in this film.
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couzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Mar, 2003 06:21 pm
Phoenix32890:

I connected to your comment about 50's women and about how Julianne Moore's character had difficulty deciding what she wanted in life.
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Gala
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Mar, 2003 07:14 pm
Pheonix, it was obvious the Julianne Moore character was a victim of the the 1950s American dream. She had the well-tended home, the nice car, all the houses were in the mode of keeping up with the Jones. All the trappings of a Post-war economy in an upswing. Still, the director blanded her out, by upstaging the scenery. The attention to detail of the surrounding, the stylization of all the characters and the era each was in was subordinated to their surroundings with some prety outrageous dialogue.

The NK character was glorified by having her say the most meaningful things, and in the end her suicide put too fine a point on her heroics.

couzz, I wasn't bored by the film, I thought it was transparent. i found the plot to be sort of interesting in how it unfolded, but the dramatic core was lost. Something was missing.

I did a little reseach on the film and found out it was directed by the same guy who did "Billy Elliot" another film, to me, that was a dissapointment.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Mar, 2003 08:13 pm
I believe that there was one interconnected thread that bound each of the protagonists. It had to do with love, duty, and the emotional shackles that bind one person to another.

In the case of Virginia, she was constricted both by her doctor (who is never seen, but mentioned at length) and her husband. Each thought that they were doing the right thing by Virginia in the service of preserving her mental health. Virginia loved her husband, but his "caring" deprived her of her beloved artistic lifestyle with her literary friends in London. Virginia wants to accept her husband's love and caring, but it is tearing her apart.

Julianne Moore was bound to a husband that she did not love, and a life that meant little to her. I particularly enjoyed the scene when she is attempting to bake a birthday cake for husband. When the cake flops, she shows it to her girlfriend, who is amazed that she has failed at so simple a task. The flopped cake is a metaphor for her entire life. She has failed as a '50's woman, wife and mother, simply because it is a life for which she is not suitable, nor is it what she desires.

With the modern scene, Meryl Streep is the most self actualized woman of the three. She has a stable ten year lesbian relationship, and is a caretaker to a man with whom she once had a relationship, a man who is dying of AIDS. Here the story comes full circle. In this case, it is the man who is being stifled by a woman whose only "crime" is that she wants to care for him.

That conflict within him ends, when he finally gathers up the courage to break free from the bonds of his caretaker, and finally takes a stand about what he wants to do with his life.

All three people, Kidman, Moore and Harris, in the end, found the courage to live their lives as they wished.
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larry richette
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Mar, 2003 10:53 pm
You couldn't PAY me to see this movie. I LOATHE Meryl Streep and the Philip Glass score from what I've heard of it sounds like the latest torture device we should be using against terrorist suspects. Also, there is something suspect to me about a book that is so derivative of another book--MRS. DALLOWAY. Can't Michael Cunningham think of his own stories and characters???
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couzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2003 12:08 am
Phoenix32890:

Well, I not so sure all three women found courage to live their lives
as they wished. I want to be careful not to disclose the ending for those who have not seen "The Hours" but I don't think the women exhibited courage--frustration is closer to it.

Gala:

I agree the plot floated a little but there is very little direct conflict in this film so you are probably missing the structure that is supported by this conflict. To draw an analogy, it's a "to be or not to be" story with no sword play.
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Gala
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2003 09:42 am
couzz, I didn't miss the structure supporting the conflict of the film. The structure was transparent and shed no light except to compound the general whiny and melodramatic overtone of the player's dilemmas. And I stress the word player's, a little make-up, some prosthetic devices, a few scabs to imply the horror of AIDS, a messy loft, mental illness achieved by smoking ciggarettes and scowling while sitting at the writers palette...what a bunch of superficial crap.

Ha! Larry, The Philip Glass score, Torture.
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Gala
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2003 09:49 am
Larry, actually Meryl Streep was the Least annoying of the three main characters. Even I found this hard to believe. The only character who seemed remotely credible was the actor who played Leonard Woolf.
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couzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2003 01:09 pm
Gala:

I am not trying to sell you this film. I'm fine with the fact you did not like "The Hours". I just was trying to understand why you thought it was not successful beyond your "transparent plot" comment. All of the movie viewers who were familiar with Virginia Woolf knew how her story would end within the film.

In my recent posting I mentioned low conflict, which creates minimal structure, requires the viewer to focus on the characters and not on "the event". It's like going to a Buddhist Monk and asking how to solve your problems and all he does is serenely ask you the same question in return.

All this film is asking the viewer to do is to ponder why some people get fogged in and why they are unable to motivate themselves. It's the actual mental movement of the character (even in these low key surroundings) that is the plot. Because this picture uses the structure of three different time periods, it was interesting to see how the mental struggles related to the period.
The plot was not the star.

I understand you want more than that. I found it interesting to watch these characters. Maybe this does not interest you, which is fine but please do not confuse the low key subject matter with poor directing or screenwriting.

If we can agree that films have a scale of 1 to 10 on the conflict and reaction level, I prefer 2, 3, 4 on the scale. ("Less is more" theory)

Using a high conflict film--Even though Russell Crowe's character was motivated by revenge in "Gladiator" to #10 plot events, what was interesting was witnessing his reactions which were low key in style. I thought he did a great job making you wonder what he was going to do next. So it was the character that interested me more then the #10 plot. It's all personal taste.
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