The Hours weaves together the lives and time of three incredibly different but pain-sharing women with fascination. You have to marvel at the sheer delicacy in the structure of the different narrative lines and the consistency of the emotional arc running through them like a thread. Performances depend on each other, stylistic changes are made in partnership with periods and like a triangle, each point needs to be structurally sound for the foundation to work.
Unfortunately, Stephen Daldry’s impeccably balanced house of cards is let down somewhat by what I would describe as a cinematic stammer. The cuts are jarring and come at odd times, leaving a lot of it clouded by melodrama. Philip Glass’ dramatic and great score was thrown over so much of it that even music as reliable as his lost a little something. All in all, there seemed to be a general lack of flow. Despite my love of stories involving complex women (especially with a cast as exceptional as this) and well-interwoven timelines, I thought The Hours was missing a little bit of punch considering how shattered the minds and hearts of its leading ladies are.
“Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more. It’s contrast.”
With all that being true, I still am very much of the opinion that there’s still something lovely about this film and how it expresses itself. It may not all work for me personally. I can’t consistently connect, but there were definite moments of connection where I found myself feeling like it *almost* reached out and touched me. There may be a baiting aura around it, but it pulls everything off to a high standard and managed not to sink itself in its attempts to dramatize. I just wish there had been a more realistic quality to the people in it because The Hours is—what I think I’m okay with referring to as—over-written within an inch of its life.
Still, I won’t tell anyone not to watch it. Yes, it goes for a lot of important issues and is made by people that have clearly not had experience in said issues, but isn’t there just something wholesome and warm about it even in its sadness? I think so. And its portrayal of depression is a strong one. The alienation of women throughout all of history has no doubt gotten lesser as society has progressed but even in modern times (the issues just manifest themselves differently now) someone such as Clarissa can feel the same type of sting someone like Virginia Woolf did.