The Hours

The Hours


The Hours review

Film description

In a Nutshell:

Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway influences lives of three emotional women (including Virginia herself) over the course of one day.



‘The time to hide is over. The time to regret is gone. The time to live is now.’


'To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away.'

'Leonard, always the years between us, always the years. Always the love. Always the hours.'

'But if it is a choice between Richmond and death, I choose death.'


Mrs. Dalloway has a momentous affect on three women which comes to a dramatic head in a single day.

Woman 1: Virginia Wolf (Nicole Kidman plus fake nose). The year is 1923 and she is suffering from depression. She has moved to Richmond after becoming suicidal in London.

On this key day she upsets her husband, offends the cook, and takes herself off to her room and scratches away at the outline of what is to become one of her key works, Mrs. Dalloway.

Woman 2: Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) has just started to read Mrs. Dalloway. She’s a pregnant 1950s Californian housewife and wants to bake a cake for her husband.

She does this with her young son, but finds it a challenge. Her neighbour (Toni Collette) comes to visit. Emotional stuff occurs.

Woman 3: Clarissa Vaughn (Meryl Streep) is a 21st Century-New York-dwelling lesbian. She lives with her girlfriend and has a moody daughter (Claire Danes).

Clarissa’s whole day, from the minute she gets up and buys some flowers, is devoted to throwing a party for her friend Richard (Ed Harris) who is dying from AIDS.

He calls her ‘Mrs. Dalloway’, and her day takes a similar course to that of the protagonist’s in Woolf’s novel.  

These three women are all living lives for the happiness of other people.

Of course, this kind of self-martyrdom can only last for so long, and it is on this day where things start to bubble over.

Written by: Barnaby Walter

Release Dates

UK Cinema release
February 14th 2003
UK DVD release
December 1st 2003