The Hours & the Burdens of Creativity

The Hours (2002) is directed by Stephen Daldry, screenplay is by David Hare adapted from a book of the same name by Michael Cunningham. It’s a non-linear film in that it’s set in three different time periods. The first time period is in 1923 when Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) started writing Mrs. Dalloway. The second time period is in 1951 where we see a troubled housewife Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) on the day of her husband’s (John C. Reilly) birthday, who happens to be reading Mrs. Dalloway. The third time period is set in 2001 where Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) is preparing for an awards party for her severely ill long time friend, Richard (Ed Harris). The film begins with Woolf writing the first words of the book, Brown reading those words, and Vaughan acting them out. They all portray a woman (Mrs. Dalloway), who tries to be as optimistic as she can be and pretends that everything is just wonderful when it’s quite the opposite.


The Hours is a love letter to the genius that is Virginia Woolf. It is a way of commending her timelessness and we see that by her work still resonating two time periods after her.

The film touches on the concept of happiness, depression and what comes with it including the dreadful hours. These are things that Woolf wrote about and again this shows how her writing will always be relatable because ultimately her novels were about human emotion and the human state.

A notable mention: Philip Glass’s score complements and enriches the story. It is what creativity and the burdens that come with it sound like.


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