Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Hours

There is no particular reason for my sudden surge on movie blogging except that I have fallen into a pattern where I am watching almost one movie a day (thanks to which the reading has taken a big hit!). I have realized that my earlier life has been seriously deprived of movie watching and therefore I have a near compulsion to make up for the loss and clear the backlog.

So I watched another great movie that I had missed watching in 2002. The Oscar winning film (Best actress: Nicole Kidman, also nominated for the best film) based on a Pullitzer winning work by Michael Cunningham: The Hours . I have written before on books made into movies and the plight they generally suffer. Not having read the book, I am unable to make the comparison in this case, but the movie in itself was remarkable and has enthused me to pick up the book sometime in near future.

The movie is a set of three stories - not exactly parallel, but connected strongly. The strong connection is provided by Virginia Woolfe's book 'Mrs. Dalloway' (which is another book that I have not read and would like to, after watching this movie). One story is that of Woolfe herself, as she writes the book. It also dwells on her mental instability that finally leads to her suicide.
The second story is that of a woman who is reading the book and begins to identify with the character.
The third story is of a woman who is called 'Mrs. Dalloway' by her closest friend, due to her terrific closeness to the character.

I have not particularly liked the two Woolfe books that I have read. Going by some references in works of some authors of her time, I always her as imagined a neurotic, impatient woman floating in the upper society. And somehow her two books confirmed that image. However, 'The hours' brings her to life in a very compelling manner. Its almost enviable to see her so absorbed in her other world - the world created in the book that she is writing. She seems so connected with the story that it almost seems like the events were happening to her. And strangely, in the movie this particular phenomenon comes out more strongly due to the connection in the life of her and her reader.

Nicole Kidman is brilliant. She is unrecognizable, and is able to live the neuroticism so well. Merryl Streep and Julliane Moore also impress, especially Streep in her epitomization of Mrs Dalloway.

The movie is great - one of those movies which leave you a little unsettled. And thoughtful.

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