"The Hours" Is Released

The Hours is a 2002 American & British drama film directed by Stephen Daldry, and starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Ed Harris.

The screenplay by David Hare is based on the 1999 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same title by Michael Cunningham.

The plot focuses on three women of different generations whose lives are interconnected by the novel Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Among them are Clarissa Vaughan (Streep), a New Yorker preparing an award party for her AIDS-stricken long-time friend and poet, Richard (Harris) in 2001; Laura Brown (Moore), a pregnant 1950s California housewife with a young boy and an unhappy marriage; and Virginia Woolf herself (Kidman) in 1920s England, who is struggling with depression and mental illness whilst trying to write her novel.

The film was released in Los Angeles and New York City on Christmas Day 2002, and was given a limited release in the US and Canada two days later on December 27, 2002. It did not receive a wide release in the US until January 2003, and was then released in UK cinemas on Valentine's Day that year. Critical reaction to the film was mostly positive, and Nicole Kidman won an Oscar at the 2003 Academy Awards for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf.

This remarkably faithful and moving screen adaptation of Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning theme and variations on Virginia Woolf's novel "Mrs. Dalloway" stars Nicole Kidman as the English author who committed suicide in 1941, and Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep as two of her literary and spiritual heirs. Ms. Kidman's Woolf is one of the most disturbing portraits of mental imbalance ever brought to the screen. Ms. Moore (as a depressed Southern California housewife in 1951) and Ms. Streep (as a book editor in contemporary New York) give richly shaded portrayals of intelligent high-strung women on the verge. David Hare's lean, incisive screenplay and Philip Glass's churning minimalist score fold stories that take place in different eras into a single timeless plane. Ed Harris gives a furious, anguished portrayal of an eminent poet dying of AIDS. — Stephen Holden, The New York Times