Kitty: Oh, you're reading a book?
Laura Brown: Yeah.
Kitty: What's this one about?
Laura Brown: Oh, it's about this woman who's incredibly - well, she's a hostess and she's incredibly confident and she's going to give a party. And, maybe because she's confident, everyone thinks she's fine... but she isn't.
A 1998 novel by Michael Cunningham, The Hours
won the Pulitzer-Prize the following year and was made into a film in 2002. The film version, directed by Stephen Daldry, starred Nicole Kidman
in her Oscar-winning role, and also featured Meryl Streep
, Julianne Moore
and Ed Harris
in the cast.
Although they are nearly eighty years apart, three different women are connected to each other by the Virginia Woolf classic Mrs. Dalloway
. In 1923, the author herself battles depression and her inner demons just as she begins to write her novel. In 1949, housewife Laura Brown finds comfort in her everyday life through the same novel. In 1999 (2001 in the film), Clarissa Vaughn embodies Mrs. Dalloway herself as she prepares a party for her friend Richard, a poet dying of AIDS.
Not to be confused with the talk show The Hour
, or the BBC drama series of the same name
This novel and film feature examples of:
- Amicable Exes: Almost all of Clarissa. Sally snarks that Clarissa's putting her next to her exes every party she gave must be meaningful.
- Beauty Inversion: Nicole Kidman wore a fake nose as Virginia Woolf.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Clarissa is blonde, Virginia's a brunette and Laura has reddish brown hair.
- Book Ends: Virginia Woolf’s suicide in 1941.
- Cast Full of Gay: Almost every woman in the entire film is attracted to women, and almost all of Clarissa's friends seem to be gay or bisexual.
- Driven to Suicide: Not just Virginia, but Ritchie as well.
- Laura contemplates suicide, but doesn't actually go through with it.
- Flower Motifs: Flowers show up quite a few times in each timeline.
- Happy Marriage Charade: Laura has a lovely husband but she only pretends to be happily married.
- Housewife: Laura. However, she's unhappy with her life. She eventually leaves her husband and kids, moves to Canada and starts working at a library
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Kitty envies Laura' s pregnancy while she cannot have children despite it's all what she wants.
- Literary Allusion Title: To Mrs. Dalloway. The Hours was its original working title.
- Love Triangle: Clarissa was in love with Richard in college (and still is to an extent). But, he eventually left her for Louis Waters.
- Match Cut Used frequently as a transition device between the three periods of time.
- Meaningful Echo
- Meaningful Name: Several of the characters (who aren't historical figures) have names relating to the novel Mrs. Dalloway. Clarissa is named after the protagonist, Richard is named after Richard Dalloway, Clarissa's partner Sally is named after Sally Seton who had a relationship with Mrs. Dalloway. Clariss'a daughter Julia is named after Julia Stephen, Virginia Woolf's mother.
- Missing Mom: Laura for Richard and his sister.
- Oscar Bait
- Starts with a Suicide: The story starts with Virginia's suicide.
- Stepford Smiler: Pretty much all the three main characters and the poor Kitty as well.
- Throw It In: Meryl Streep’s reaction to the water exploding from the faucet, itself an unscripted event.
- Title Drop: Twice. Once by Richard and at the end by Virginia Woolf.
- Write Who You Know: In-universe, Richard based all of the characters in his novel off the people in his life.