The Hours The Hours
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Film Date :   December 25, 2002
Genre :   Drama   
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The Hours

The Hoursis a 2002 drama film directed by Stephen Daldry , and starring Nicole Kidman , Meryl Streep , Julianne Moore and Ed Harris . The screenplay by David Hare is based on the 1999 Pulitzer Prize -winning novel of the same title by Michael Cunningham .

The plot focuses on three women of different generations whose lives are interconnected by the novelMrs. Dallowayby Virginia Woolf . Among them are Clarissa Vaughan (Streep), a New Yorker preparing an award party for her AIDS -stricken long-time friend and poet, Richard (Harris) in 2001; Laura Brown (Moore), a pregnant 1950s California housewife with a young boy and an unhappy marriage; and Virginia Woolf herself (Kidman) in 1920s England, who is struggling with depression and mental illness whilst trying to write her novel.

The film was released in Los Angeles and New York City on Christmas Day 2002, and was given a limited release in the US and Canada two days later on December 27, 2002. It did not receive a wide release in the US until January 2003, and was then released in UK cinemas on Valentine's Day that year. Critical reaction to the film was mostly positive,The Hoursreceived nine Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Nicole Kidman won an Oscar at the 2003 Academy Awards for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf.

With the exception of the opening and final scenes, which depict the 1941 suicide by drowning of Virginia Woolf ( Nicole Kidman ) in the River Ouse , the action takes place within the span of a single day in three different years, and alternates among them throughout the film. In 1923, renowned author Woolf has begun writing the bookMrs. Dallowayin her home in the town of Richmond in suburban London . In 1951, troubled Los Angeles housewife Laura Brown ( Julianne Moore ) tries to find escape from her dreary existence by readingMrs. Dalloway. In 2001, New Yorker Clarissa Vaughan ( Meryl Streep ) is the embodiment of the title character of Mrs. Dalloway as she spends the day preparing for a party she is hosting in honor of her friend Richard ( Ed Harris ), a poet and author living with AIDS who is to receive an award for career achievement. Richard often refers to Clarissa as "Mrs. Dalloway".

Virginia, who has experienced several nervous breakdowns and suffers from recurring bouts of severe depression , feels trapped in her home. Intimidated by her servants, Nelly and Lottie, and constantly monitored by her husband Leonard ( Stephen Dillane ), who operates the Hogarth Press at home in order to be close to her at all times, Woolf both welcomes and dreads an afternoon visit from her sister Vanessa ( Miranda Richardson ) and her children. After their departure, Virginia flees to the railway station where she is awaiting a train to central London when Leonard arrives to bring her home. He expresses his distress at living in constant fear of her making a further attempt on her life; she replies that she also lives under the permanent threat of a return to mental illness, but argues that she has to live as she is and not seek a refuge from the reality of her identity.

Pregnant with her second child, Laura spends her days in her tract home with her young son, Richie. She married her husband, Dan ( John C. Reilly ), soon after World War II and on the surface they are living the American Dream ; she is nevertheless, deeply unhappy. She and Richie prepare a birthday cake for Dan's birthday, but the end result is a disaster. Her neighbor Kitty ( Toni Collette ) unexpectedly drops in to ask her if she can feed her dog while she's in the hospital undergoing a medical procedure. Kitty is pretending to be upbeat. Laura senses her fear and boldly kisses her on the lips, a gesture Kitty accepts, although she ignores any hidden meaning it may have had. With renewed determination, Laura successfully bakes another cake, cleans the kitchen, and then takes Richie to stay with Mrs. Latch ( Margo Martindale ) while she supposedly runs some errands before dinner. Instead she checks into a luxury hotel, where she intends to commit suicide. Laura sits down on the bed and removes several bottles of pills and Woolf's novel from her purse. She begins to readMrs. Dallowayand drifts off to sleep. Awakening from a dream in which the hotel room was flooded, she has a change of heart, picks up Richie, and returns home, where the family celebrates Dan's birthday.

Clarissa, stressed about the celebration dinner she is planning for Richard, particularly because of his increasingly debilitating illness, is highly nervous as she tries to accomplish all she needs to do before Richard's award ceremony. The two were romantic during their college days, but he has spent the better part of his life engaging in gay relationships, including one with Louis Waters ( Jeff Daniels ), who left him years ago but is returning to Manhattan from his home in San Francisco for the festivities. Clarissa herself is a lesbian who has been living with Sally Lester ( Allison Janney ) for 10 years, and the mother of university student Julia ( Claire Danes ), both of whom are trying to help her prepare. Eventually, Richard is revealed to be Laura Brown's son, Richie. When Clarissa arrives at his apartment to help him dress for the ceremony, she finds him in a manic state. Perched on the window ledge, he confesses he has struggled to stay alive for Clarissa's sake but, no longer willing to live with his illness, he throws himself out a window to his death. Later that night Laura, having been notified of her son's suicide by Clarissa, arrives at her apartment. Laura reveals that her decision to abandon her family after the birth of her daughter was one she felt she needed to make in order to maintain her sanity.

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