The Hours is the title of a film that was released in 2002. It is also the name of a book by Michael Cunningham released in 1998, on which the film is based, which itself is based on the classic novel once under a working title of the same name, later to become known as Mrs. Dalloway in 1925 by author Virginia Woolf. The film adaptation, also borrows an original theme from Woolf's own version, decidedly telling the story of a woman's whole life in a single day. However, where The Hours by Michael Cunningham picks up and the film leaves off, is by taking that theme and applying it to three different women, in the place of just one. While many reviewers have stated that the film is the story of three women of different eras whose lives are all transformed by the novel Mrs. Dalloway itself, on this generalization I have to disagree somewhat.
[...] The opposite effect, would be for the director to rely on the simplicity of the shot, simply allowing the camera to show you the scene and let the weight of it rely on the strength of the actors' performances, as in one of the last scenes of the movie, with Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep carrying the scene with their performances, whereas the viewer is equally unaware that the camera is making no fancy movements, but just sitting there as a window into the lives of these characters. [...]
[...] The lines being delivered by the actors are not only there just for conversation between characters, but each sentence holds significant meaning to the film, and the overall work as a form of art—also again very appropriate for a film related so closely to literature, which is itself, the recognized artistic value of language and words. Which also makes for an interesting point, when the film itself is based on a piece of literature that included a master of literature, Virginia Wolf as one of its' characters, and yet this film using the significant selection of lines the characters speak, is really about everything the characters are not talking about. [...]
[...] Right before, when Louis enters, the song ‘Beim Schlafengehen' by Richard Strauss, dealing with a farewell to life, is blaring through the apartment. Then, as the music is turned off and the conversation turns more personal, there hardly any sound at all, solely the actors' voices. As mentioned before you have the camera closing in on Clarissa, symbolizing the growing tension, but also you have silence minus Louis' voice, and the cracking of the eggs becomes amplified—also an indicator that things are turning more intense. [...]
[...] course, the three women are a writer, a reader, and a character (or a person who's being related to a character, at least), three essential literary pieces, appropriate for a film centered around a book. In addition, due to the three-part narrative, the film is inevitably structured to repeat patterns in threes, creating a triangular type theme that runs throughout the film—which also lends itself in favor of the editing style. For specific shots, linking the characters and decades together, there are sequences showing three women waking up in the morning, three spouses (in Clarissa's case, a live-in girlfriend) already up, and starting the day, three clock chimes/alarms/bells, followed by three women looking into the mirror (mirrors in film tend represent some form of symbolism—perhaps in this case the women examining their lives—all of which are to be shown within this one day), and three individuals refusing to start the day ‘properly' by eating breakfast; first Mrs. [...]
[...] For most period films, I think costuming is extremely important to the actors getting a feeling for what it would have been like living in that time, as their character, by the simple aid of a corset, or for men a wig and riding boots. The strongest theme that was emphasized in the film, in my opinion, was failure. In Virginia's case the failure to write, or write well due to her illness and growing madness led her into a depression, and a yearning to escape (to London or death) causing her many (failed) suicide attempts and fascination with death, before she finally did succeed. [...]
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