1. The novel “The Hours” has garnered much attention since it was published, due to its hard hitting themes and subject matter. The book deals with the issues of homosexuality, mental illness, and suicide. These issues come to light during scenes about the lives of author Virginia Woolf and other characters that were created for the novel. While these characters didn’t interact with each other, they had much in common and showed that issues like their’s can affect anyone.
2. The 2002 film adaptation of the book had a difficult task of showing three seemingly unconnected stories. While the three women featured in this movie are so separated by time, they have similar tendencies and face similar problems. These similarities help to build a cohesion within the film that makes the sometimes sudden jumps from story line to story line less jarring. The film also deals heavily with the issue of aids through the character of Richard who is dealing with the disease.
3. The film does a good job of capturing the overall story and issues that are the basis of the novel. The problem with this type of book however, is trying to capture the internal struggles that are plaguing these characters in a visual way. It is much easier to show how a person is thinking and feeling in a novel through inner monologues and introspective sections. This is much more difficult to show in a film and seems to take away from the feeling and emotion of the movie.
This interview with lead actress Nicole Kidman gives insight into what it took for the actress to transform herself into Virginia Woolf. She talks about how she studied not only works about Woolf, but also works by Woolf to try to get inside her head. Kidman even took up smoking as a regular activity and began writing with her non dominant hand because that was the hand with which Woolf wrote.
This interview is a look into the reasoning behind the author’s journey in writing the novel.
This link shows the vast number of nominations that the movie received, and shows the awards that it earned soon after its release.
5. Madness and suicide are central themes in the three intersecting stories in the film. Is it all too much, leading to over-heated melodrama, or does the film give us three nuanced and unique views of these themes?
The film uses the strong subjects of suicide and mental illness in dramatic, yet appropriate ways to shed light on the subjects. While these are not easy issues with which to deal, the movie does so without becoming too over the top or soap opera like. While we see two successful suicides in the movie, we do not see them in grand thematic ways. The scenes are very believable and hold a worthwhile place within the movie. Rarely do we feel that the characters are showing too much, or unnecessary emotions for the situations at hand.