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The Hours

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Hours

Starring: Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman
Director: Stephen Daldry
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 114 Minutes
Release Date: January 2002
Genre: Drama

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

THE HOURS, by director Stephen Daldry (BILLY ELLIOT), has already risen to the top of the list when it comes to Oscar buzz, which makes it perhaps the most overrated movie of the year in my book. This women's picture could easy be the final film in a disease-of-the-week movie festival on the Lifetime channel. It could, except no cable channel could afford this killer cast. And, except for a cloyingly overacted performance by Ed Harris as a man dying of AIDS, the acting is all superb. Most notable is Nicole Kidman, who is a cinch for an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf, who, like many of the women, is suffering from terminal depression.

The movie's central conceit is that three women -- Woolf, Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) and Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) -- share similar emotions and experiences although they live decades apart. Woolf, for example, is in the process of writing Mrs. Dalloway, a book that Laura is currently reading. And, when one of them buys flowers, they all do. Other members of the cast include Miranda Richardson, Toni Collette and Allison Janney as the women whom the leading women secretly, and not so secretly, love. The characters say clich‚d things like, "It's going to be alright," which, of course, means that it will be anything but.

If we are ever in danger of forgetting to have our hankies at the ready, Philip Glass's overpowering music is there to remind us precisely how we're supposed to feel. Personally I felt like leaving. Oscar won't. This is just the sort of manipulative tear-jerker that the Academy loves. Expect it to take home several statuettes.

THE HOURS runs 1:54. It is rated PG-13 for "mature thematic elements, some disturbing images and brief language" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes

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