The Hours (US-UK, 2002)

Measuring lives in hours

Measuring lives in hours

Seeing this film again is a reminder of how Nicole Kidman (above) has lost her way as an actor somewhat as the commercial movies have taken over from the thoughtful ones. Here she is absolutely terrific but may even be ‘beaten’ by Julianne Moore. Meryl Streep, of course, is wonderful. All this may suggest that the film is about performance but it is more than that.

A third melodrama set in the ’50s (well in part) I’ve seen recently: Bigger Than Life is the classic; Revolutionary Road the disappointment. The Hours is brilliant: a fascinating narrative and intelligent direction to go with a powerhouse cast (Ed Harris, Toni Collette, John Reilly, Jeff Daniels, Clare Danes…).

I complained about Mendes anodyne use of camera, Ray was a master; Stephen Daldry relies upon composition and sepia colouring which works extremely well. There is also a tour de force scene when Moore’s character contemplates suicide and her bedroom is consumed in a flood.

Philip Glass’ repetitious score is perfectly melancholy for the melodrama.

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