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The Hours

Year: 2002
Director: Stephen Daldry
Writer: Virginia Woolf
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, John C Reilly, Miranda Richardson
Much was made of the prosthetic nose on Nicole Kidman, and it obviously had an affect on her peers, who voted her best Actress at the Academy Awards with it.

Ironically, it's Meryl Streep who gives the better performance, as a middle-aged book editor trying to keep up appearances for her friends while planning a party for her dying poet friend (Harris, who should also have won an Oscar because of the combination of a brilliant makeup job and the movements and demeanour of a man truly exhausted with sickness).

The story follows the concurrent lives of three women; Virginia Woolf, living out of London and hating it but told it's the best cure against the insanity and madness that would cause her to ultimately commit suicide, a housewife in 1950's middle America (Moore), living a life of quiet torture as she tries to be the wife and mother society wants her to be (as sees her as) while depression tears her apart inside), and Streep as the modern-day professional woman and the lives that orbit her.

It seems to be a statement about the lot of women suffering depression, how they're expected to be in control and how much a failure society regards them as if they can't hold together jobs, families etc, except that Streep's character does the best job of holding things together (playing a version of the heroine of Woolf's novel, Mrs Dalloway).

The stories are very loosely connected, and while it's not too clear what the point of it all is (maybe you have to have read Mrs Dalloway to understand it), the film wants to say something (maybe just about depression and suicide) but it may just be the resonance of literature or ideas throughout history.

A fantastic support cast and three great leads keep an otherwise buried subtext buoyant.

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