a couple of days (or nights) ago, i watched the film “the hours” again; film based on a novel written by michael cunningham. it reminded me of how much i loved that movie, even back in 2003, or ten years ago, when i first watched it. it also introduced me to the work of virginia woolf, one of the most talented writers and modernists of the 20th century.
this film is among my absolute favorites ever since the first time i had seen it. the critics praised it for dealing with important issues such as mental illnesses and LGBT issues, while i thought it should be praised for its honesty.
the plot focuses on three women of different generations whose lives are interconnected by the novel “mrs dalloway” by virginia woolf. these women are clarissa vaughan (portrayed by meryl streep), a woman living in new york city who plans a party to celebrate the major literary award received by her friend and former lover, the poet richard, who is dying of an aids-related illness (portrayed by ed harris) in 2001; laura brown (portrayed by julianne moore), a pregnant housewife with a young boy and an unhappy marriage, living in california in the 1950s; and virginia woolf herself (portrayed by nicole kidman) in 1920s england, who is struggling with depression and mental illness while trying to write her novel.
these three women are connected by woolf’s book “mrs delloway”, virginia woolf is writing the novel, laura brown is reading it and finds it very comforting and inspiring, while clarissa voughn is mrs delloway herself, social butterfly and always active… or so it seems. or as her friend richard said:
“oh, mrs dalloway… always giving parties to cover the silence.”
the film “the hours”, just like the novel “mrs delloway”, is placed within the space of one day. and within that day, memories, fears and even the life of these three women are very clearly portrayed. or, as virginia woolf said when she started her book,
“a woman’s whole life in a single day… and in that day, her whole life.”
the major theme of the film, just as woolf’s novel, is depression and nostalgia over the past times. one particular phase has been used twice, in the suicide note which virginia woolf left to her husband and by richard brown, before he killed himself.
“i don’t think two people could have been happier than we’ve been.”
on the other hand, clarissa vaughan, when remembering the years spent with her friends and with richard, as well as her youth, reminds us all on the life opportunities and how the life should be enjoyed and lived to its fullest.
“i remember one morning getting up at dawn… there was such a sense of possibility… and i remember thinking to myself, ‘this is the beginning of happiness, this is where it starts and of course there will always be more.’ it never occurred to me it wasn’t the beginning, it WAS happiness.”
i have left my favorite quote for last. the last one is about life. it helped me when i needed it the most & very soon it became my life motto.
“you cannot find peace by avoiding life.”