Monday, November 24, 2014

Movie Monday: The Hours

The Hours
When opportunity arises, I feature Movie Monday. I recognize few people have the time or desire to read the amount I do, especially when it comes to the 100 Best Novels list. Luckily, Hollywood loves adapting a classic and I love a good story in any form.

It's not often that  I watch a film adaptation so directly after finishing a novel. However, The Hours proved an exception. Thanks to instant streaming via Netflix and the irresistible cast, Kevin and I curled up to watch this one only two days after I completed the book.

And what a cast. The big names on the poster are just the surface. I don't mean to brush over Meryl Streep or Nicole Kidman. They are two of my absolute favorite actors and positively brilliant - in this and everything they are in. Kidman won the Oscar for this role, after all! But, they are supplemented by an extraordinary supporting cast, including Claire Danes (or, in Kevin's words, "Hey! It's that crazy lady from the spy show!") and Allison Janney (forever CJ Cregg in my heart).

The movie stayed fairly true to the book, with a few small-ish changes. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I understand the criticism of some that little actually happens. It reflects the book - a day in the life of three different women. The days are meant to be fairly ordinary, that's part of the importance, in my mind. It shows the struggle each of these women live with on a daily basis, their inner turmoil and emotional storms.

It wasn't Kevin's cup of tea. He tends to prefer more action and, understandably, I don't think he could relate to these stories of intense female emotion. To me, both the book and the movie capture so perfectly the tumult, of any level, that women feel from day to day. While I have never been in the extreme position of some of these characters, I can identify, on lower levels, with the panic and fear they portray so well. Everything about the story and the characters rang true for me, which should be lauded considering that much of the storytelling in the film version must be done through facial expression and body language.

I certainly wouldn't recommend this movie for anyone. It's dark at points and deals with deep issues, including some more adult themes. There is a lot of nuance and no one spells out the message of the film for you. It requires attention and interest and, likely, some understanding of the female psyche. Still, I really enjoyed it, particularly after having read the book, which I would definitely recommend reading before you see the movie. 

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