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The Hours (2003)
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, Stephen Dillane, Miranda Richardson, George Loftus, Charley Ramm, Sophie Wyburd, Lyndsay Marshal, Linda Bassett
Directed by: Stephen Daldry
Release Date: January 17th 2003 (wide).
Runtime: 110 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic elements, some disturbing images, brief language.
Box Office: $41,598,000 (US total)
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Based on Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, Hours draws on the life and work of Virginia Woolf to tell the story of three women: Woolf, who is portrayed in the throes of writing Mrs. Dalloway and contemplating suicide; Laura Brown, a young wife and mother in the suffocating confines of her tidy little life in Los Angeles in 1949; and Clarissa Vaughn, who is giving a party in the present in New York for her closest friend, Richard, an award-winning writer dying of AIDS.
Three eras, three stories, and three women coalesce into a continuum that flows through the heart of "The Hours." Each woman is joined to the other like links in a chain, unaware that the power of a single great work of literature is irrevocably altering their lives. First there is Virginia Woolf, in a suburb of London in the early 1920s, battling insanity as she begins to write her first great novel, Mrs. Dalloway.
Over two decades later, Laura Brown is a wife and mother in Los Angeles at the end of World War II, who is reading Mrs. Dalloway and finding it so revelatory that she begins to consider making a devastating change in her life. And then, in contemporary New York City, there is Clarissa Vaughan, a modern version of Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, in love with her friend Richard, a brilliant poet dying of AIDS. Their stories intertwine and finally come together in a surprising and transcendent moment of shared recognition.
Inspired by Virginia Woolf's 1925 novel Mrs. Dalloway, Michael Cunningham wrote The Hours over 75 years later. Now The Hours has been made into a film, the result of an inspired collaboration by some of the most creative and accomplished talents working in film today.
Published in 1998, Michael Cunningham's The Hours was hailed as a literary accomplishment of major importance. It received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and was chosen as Best Book of 1998 by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and Publishers Weekly.
Jameson Currier in the Washington Post Book World writes that Cunningham has "deftly created something original, a trio of richly-interwoven tales that alternate with one another chapter by chapter.his most mature and masterful work."
"Cunningham here undertakes one of the most daunting literary projects imaginable," states the review in the Yale Book Review. "Cunningham's portrait of Woolf is heartbreaking. With The Hours, Cunningham has done the impossible: he has taken a canonical work of literature and, in reworking it, has made it his own."
Eerily depicting how three women from three different time periods are brought together by a masterful piece of literature, "The Hours" tells the story of three very different individuals who share in common the feeling that they have been living their lives for someone else.
Virginia Woolf, in a suburb of London in the early 1920s, is struggling to begin Mrs. Dalloway, and to overcome the mental illness that threatens to engulf her. Laura Brown, a young wife and mother in post-World War II Los Angeles, is just starting to read Mrs. Dalloway, and is so deeply affected by it that she begins to question the very life she has chosen for herself. Clarissa Vaughan, living in contemporary New York City, becomes a modern-day mirror image of Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway as she plans what may be the final party for her friend and former lover, Richard.
An intermingling of three stories about three women searching for meaning in their lives, "The Hours" brings to life Virginia Woolf's heartfelt belief that all lives are intertwined.