111. The Hours

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Movie: The Hours

Release Date: December 25, 2002

Director: Stephen Daldry

Starring: Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Ed Harris, Toni Collette, Claire Danes, Jeff Daniels, Stephen Dillane, Allison Janney, John C Reilly, Miranda Richardson.

Tag Lines: “Three Different Women. Each Living a Lie.”

“From the director of Billy Elliot.”

“Three women in their search for happiness.”

“Always.”

“The time to hide is over. The time to regret is gone. The time to live is now.”

Relevance: As I have mentioned a few times before on this blog, I came out of the closet a little later in life (age twenty-seven) and had a very difficult time with it. It took me awhile to adjust to my new lifestyle and it wasn’t until years later that I became comfortable in my own skin. If I were born ten years later, maybe I wouldn’t have had that much of an issue with it. We seem to be maturing a little in society regarding sexuality, though we have much more progress to make. Then again, maybe nothing would have changed. Maybe this was my journey to take regardless if I were born in 1971 or 1981. After all, we all have our own paths to take.

Some time around the new millennium when everyone was still reeling from Y2K, I ran across the novel “The Hours” by Michael Cunningham. At that time my life consisted of work, listening to music, watching movies and spending time with my son. Not too much more and nothing less. I was also always looking for a good book to read and the synopsis of this one intrigued me. As soon as I started reading it, I was in complete awe with its beautiful words. I loved the novel and finished it rather quickly. It equally devastated me. Its themes of sexuality, depression and suicide rang far too close to my real life from just a few years back. I connected greatly with all of the characters and for the first time since “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger I was moved to tears by a novel.

I read the novel again soon after and told everyone I could about it. I was very pleased to learn that they were adapting the novel into a movie starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman, three of my favorite actresses. Although the movie was released on Christmas Day in 2002, it did not start showing in theaters near where I was living at the time until January of 2003. But that opening weekend, I was there with a bucket of popcorn and a box of Kleenex. If the movie was done right, I was going to need the tissues. And boy, did I.

‘The Hours’ had a huge effect on me, even though I already knew what the film was about and what was going to happen. It was such a gorgeous adaptation (very close to its source material) and was so beautifully directed and acted, I literally sobbed in my popcorn. I was emotionally gutted by the movie and cried leaving the theater, walking to my car, driving to my house and walking to the door. I was a mess. I jumped in the shower to try to compose myself. Afterwards, I went to my bookshelf and grabbed the Michael Cunningham novel and put it by the bed stand. I just had to re-read it. Until then there was only one other novel, “The Catcher in the Rye,” that I had read more than twice.

‘The Hours’ remained one of my favorite films as did the novel, which I always say is one of my favorite books of all time. I was now able to add that the movie was one of my favorite films of all time. I am never one to compare a book and its equivalent movie as they are two different mediums and should be looked at separately. However, I really can’t pick which one, the novel or the film, I like more. They are equally exquisite and are both cherished by me and will be for the remainder of my life.

Today’s Thoughts: “Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more. It’s contrast.”

There is nothing like watching a grand drama to get the day started. And that’s exactly what I did today. I probably haven’t watched ‘The Hours’ in a couple of years so I was very excited to be re-visiting it again. This time, I had my coffee (it was too early for popcorn) and a box of Kleenex ready, because no matter how many times I watch this film, tears were going to roll.

And I was right. I just can’t help it. The tears rolled. I absolutely love the story, the characters and how beautifully the film is directed by Stephen Daldry. It is both breathtaking and emotionally draining. The performances by everyone, not just its three glorious leads, but everyone are perfection. Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Ed Harris, Toni Collette, Claire Danes, Jeff Daniels, Stephen Dillane, Allison Janney, John C Reilly and Miranda Richardson combine to make one of the greatest acting ensembles ever assembled. Everyone is on their A plus game and makes the film all that more emotional.

After watching ‘The Hours’ today I have the urge to read the novel again. Unfortunately, I lent my book to one of my friends that is no longer in contact with me. I may just have to purchase it again. For me, great art never gets old, whether a painting, a song, a novel or a film. And ‘The Hours’ will never get old for me.

“Always the years between us, always the years. Always, the love. Always, the hours.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Nicole Kidman (winner), Academy Award for Best Picture (nomination), Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Ed Harris (nomination), Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Julianne Moore (nomination), Academy Award for Best Director, Stephen Daldry (nomination), Academy Award for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay, David Hare (nomination), Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Ann Roth (nomination), Academy Award for Best Film Editing, Peter Boyle (nomination), Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score, Philip Glass (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama (winner), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, Nicole Kidman (winner), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, Meryl Streep (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, Ed Harris (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Director – Motion Picture, Stephen Daldry (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Screenplay – Motion Picture, David Hare (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Original Score – Motion Picture, Philip Glass (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Nicole Kidman (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, Philip Glass (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Film (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best British Film (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Direction, Stephen Daldry (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Meryl Streep (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Julianne Moore (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Ed Harris (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay – Adapted, David Hare (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Editing, Peter Boyle (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Make Up/Hair, Ivana Primorac, Conor O’Sullivan, Jo Allen (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, Nicole Kidman (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Ed Harris (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, Julianne Moore (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress, Nicole Kidman (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Composer, Philip Glass (nomination), Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, Stephen Daldry (nomination), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress, Nicole Kidman (winner), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Music, Philip Glass (nomination), National Board of Review Award for Best Film (winner), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, David Hare (winner).

Ways to Watch: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes, CBS, DVD Availability.

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