Cast & Crew
In 1941 Sussex, England, after author Virginia Woolf writes notes to her husband Leonard and sister Vanessa, she walks to a nearby river, places a heavy stone in her coat pocket, then wades into the river and drowns herself. As housewife Laura Brown awakens in 1951 Los Angeles, her husband Dan is preparing breakfast while Laura lingers in bed and begins reading a new book, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. In 2001 New York City, Sally Lester returns home early in the morning and slips into bed with her partner, book editor Clarissa Vaughan. Clarissa is awake but says nothing and shortly afterward rises, for that evening she is throwing an elaborate party for her best friend, Richard. In 1923 Richmond, England, Virginia joins Leonard in their dining room, but evades his concerned inquiries over whether she has eaten and instead reveals that she believes she has an opening line for a new book. Fearful that the demands of working might unsettle Virginia, who has long suffered from severe depression, Leonard nevertheless approves of her spending the day writing as long as she promises to eat lunch. Virginia retires to her study where she writes the opening line of a book revolving around a single day in the life of character Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares for a party. Laura, who is five months pregnant, reluctantly leaves her book to join Dan and their son Richie for breakfast and is chagrined to see that Dan has bought her flowers even though it is his birthday. After Dan departs for work, Laura tells Richie that she intends to spend the morning baking Dan a birthday cake. Clarissa begins preparations for her party, stopping at a flower shop run by her friend Barbara who asks after Richard. Clarissa explains that the party is in honor of Richard receiving a prestigious literary prize for his poetry. Barbara mentions having read Richard's single novel, a lengthy and difficult tome that clearly features Clarissa, then asks if it is purely fiction. Clarissa admits that the book has connections to true events, but Richard has made them his own. After selecting flowers for the party, Clarissa takes a bouquet to Richard's warehouse loft apartment. Richard, who is debilitated by AIDS, welcomes Clarissa, affectionately calling her by his long-used nickname for her, "Mrs. Dalloway." When Clarissa fusses over whether Richard has eaten breakfast, he abruptly explodes into anger about the literary award, suspicious that he is being honored out of pity. Clarissa makes light of the ceremony, but Richard chides her for constantly throwing parties to cover the emptiness in her own life. Richard confesses to feeling that he has failed as a writer to capture the essence of life. He then reminds Clarissa of a time long ago when they were young and shared a kiss on a beach and asks her what she wanted of life. He asks if she would be angry if he died and presses to know for whom she is really throwing the party, concluding that he has remained alive this long only to satisfy her. Annoyed, Clarissa insists that people must remain alive for one another, but Richard reveals he has no wish to continue living in a continual state of dependence and warns her that once he has died, Clarissa must face her own life. Virginia is annoyed by an interruption from Nelly Boxall, the cook, who has come at Leonard's behest to inquire about lunch. When Virginia later reminds Nelly that her sister Vanessa and her three children will be coming to tea and states that she wishes the children to have ginger, Nelly protests that she will have to go to London to buy some. As a vexed Nelly departs, Virginia observes that it would be delightful to make a trip to London. As Laura gathers the cake ingredients, Richie, sensing his mother is inexplicably deeply distracted, assures her that baking a cake is not very difficult. Laura agrees and with forced brightness tells her son that she is making the cake to show Dan that she loves him. After the cake is completed, Laura is considering its lopsided sloppiness with disappointment when she is interrupted by a visit from her friend Kitty Barlow. Kitty laughs at Laura's ineptness in the kitchen and Laura admires Kitty's ease with people and her healthy marriage. As the women sip coffee, Laura observes that war veterans like their husbands deserve the security and happiness of a stable home. Noting Kitty's increasing unease, Laura prompts her to confide that she is checking into the hospital that afternoon for surgery because a growth has been discovered on her uterus. After Kitty confesses her fear of the surgery and its implications, Laura comforts her and, embracing her, kisses her on the lips. Kitty thanks Laura for her sweetness and departs. Unsettled, Laura is annoyed to find Richie staring at her, then goes into the kitchen, where she throws away the cake. When Vanessa and the children arrive an hour and a half early, Virginia anxiously goes out to welcome them. Later, the children find an injured bird and Vanessa tells them the creature is near death and must be allowed to die. The children decide to give the bird a funeral, but when the boys grow restless, Vanessa romps with them while Virginia accompanies her niece in a ceremony, laying flowers around the tiny bird's body. Laura lies in bed deeply depressed, then abruptly rises to tell Richie that they will make another, better cake, then afterward take a drive. As Clarissa's party preparations grow more frenzied, she is interrupted by the unexpected early arrival of Richard's ex-boyfriend, college professor Louis Waters, who has flown in from California. After Clarissa warns Louis that Richard has been much altered by the disease, Louis reveals he has read Richard's novel. Clarissa agrees that the book is difficult, but defends it and his decision to kill off the mother figure abruptly. When Louis admits he returned to visit the summer house in which he, Richard and she once lived, Clarissa admires his courage in facing the past. Louis is startled when Clarissa then collapses into tears and struggles to convey her sense of doom and feelings of being stuck in the past. In an effort to comfort Clarissa, Louis acknowledges that he only felt free once he broke up with Richard. After Laura finishes baking a second cake, she leaves the reluctant and crying Richie with his baby sitter, then checks into a hotel room. Sitting on the bed, Laura, contemplating suicide, lays a number of pill bottles on the bedspread, then reads more of Mrs. Dalloway . A little later, Laura considers her unborn child and in a moment of desperate struggle, realizes that she cannot kill herself. While Vanessa and the children chatter over tea, Virginia decides not to have Mrs. Dalloway die in her book. Vanessa chides her sister's absentminded behavior then prepares to leave with the children. Suddenly saddened and envious of Vanessa's active London life, Virginia hugs her sister and kisses her fiercely on the mouth, and guiltily, Vanessa bids her sister farewell. After Louis departs, Clarissa's daughter, nineteen-year-old Julia, arrives to help with the party and is disconcerted when Clarissa admits that only when she is with Richard does she feel alive. Clarissa then describes how years earlier, while spending a day at the beach with Richard, she experienced true happiness and was certain the moment signified the beginning of a lifetime of happiness. She says she has since realized that that moment was the high point of her life. Virginia surreptitiously slips out of the house, avoiding Leonard in the garden. When Leonard learns from Nelly that Virginia has departed, he races off, alarmed, to the village. Finding Virginia at the train station, Leonard demands that she return home, but Virginia refuses, adamantly declaring her sense of imprisonment in Richmond. When Virginia decries languishing in the country when she longs for the clamor of London, Leonard reminds her of her long history of mental illness, of her two previous suicide attempts and admits that he fears her illness will return. Virginia maintains that it is her right to live as she chooses and acknowledges that she too lives with the specter of her own death. When she emotionally declares that given a choice between Richmond or death, she chooses death, Leonard agrees to move back to London. Laura picks Richie up and is uneasy as her young son appears to understand her unspoken intentions at the hotel. Richard looks at a wedding picture of his mother, Laura, recalling that day long ago when she retrieved him from the babysitter's home. Clarissa returns to Richard's place earlier than planned and finds him in a heightened state of anxiety, pulling the shades off all of his windows. When Richard states that he cannot make her party, Clarissa grows panicked and assures him that he is not expected to receive the award or come to the party. Richard points out that after the event there would still be the empty hours of life to face. Desperate, Clarissa insists that he still has good moments ahead, but after recalling their past happiness, Richard thanks her for her love and throws himself out the window. At dinner, Dan thanks Laura for a perfect day and, as she listens uneasily, tells Richie how thoughts of Laura got him through his days as a soldier in the South Pacific. After dinner, Leonard asks Virginia why someone must die in her new book and she responds it is so that others may value life more and announces that the visionary poet will be the character to die. As Dan waits in bed, Laura sits in the bathroom, struggling to compose herself. Dan mentions learning about Kitty's operation from her husband and Laura confesses her concern, then forces herself to go out to her husband. At the apartment, Sally and Julia help Clarissa clear away the party food when an elderly Laura arrives at the door, after having been informed of Richard's death by Clarissa. Laura tells Clarissa how difficult it is to outlive one's children, then admits she read her son's book and was hurt that he killed her character, although she understands why. When Clarissa points out that Laura abandoned Richard when he was a child, Laura explains how years ago she made a decision after the birth of her second child that she would leave her family and has never regretted it. She describes her life as a housewife and mother as death and asserts that she chose life. Moments later, Clarissa retires and is joined by Sally, who comforts her, and the women kiss. Virginia writes to Leonard about the beauty of facing life, loving it and knowing when to put it away, and thanks Leonard for all the hours of their mutual love.
John C. Reilly
Danny Aiello Iii
Alan David Briant
Stephen Lee Davis
Carlos De Carvalho
James P. Dolan
John P. Dolan
Elizabeth A. Elwell
Stanley Fernandez Jr.
William K. Gaskins
Angus More Gordon
James L. Green
Charlie Guanci Jr.
J. Roy Helland
J. A. Holden
John C. Jackson
John Gregory Kasper
David 'ned' Kelly
Iris H. Lemos
M. J. Magbanua
Michael P. Mcgowan
Angela Noakes Wharton
Vincent R. Pecora
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Costume Design
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
The Hours -
In 1999, the year after its release, Michael Cunningham won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. By 2002, Michael Cunningham's novel was adapted for the screen by David Hare, with Stephen Daldry as director, the latter who is perhaps best known for his award-winning work in theatre, both on the West End and on Broadway. The Hours (2002) was only Daldry's second feature-film directorial effort, the first being the enormously successful Billy Elliott, released in 2000 (which he also helped bring to the stage in a musical adaptation). Bringing Michael Cunningham's stream of consciousness storytelling to the screen, especially with three separate stories in three different eras, as well as depicting the real Virginia Woolf, was no easy feat for David Hare and Stephen Daldry. However, David Hare found Cunningham's story the perfect challenge, saying that having three stories to work with over the course of a long period of time is far better than just two that go back and forth between the past and the present. When asked about those three storylines and how he successfully carried them from page to screen, Hare said, "You don't quite understand why the three stories are linked, and each of the stories has a different flavor. I honestly don't know why there aren't more triangular films when there are so many boring dual films."
In addition to David Hare's Academy Award-nominated screenplay, The Hours features an incredibly impressive cast, including strong performances by three of Hollywood's top actresses: Nicole Kidman (Virginia Woolf), Julianne Moore (Laura Brown) and Meryl Streep (Clarissa Vaughan), as well as supporting performances by Ed Harris, Miranda Richardson, John C. Reilly, Jeff Daniels, Allison Janney, Toni Collette, Claire Danes and Margo Martindale. For her role as Virginia Woolf, Nicole Kidman won an Academy Award for Best Actress. Other nominations include Best Picture, Best Actor for Ed Harris, Best Supporting Actress for Julianne Moore and Best Director for Stephen Daldry.
The popularity and critical praise for the novel The Hours and its film adaptation was completely unexpected by both Michael Cunningham and his publisher. When asked if he knew he had written a bestseller and that it would be adapted to a feature-length film, Cunningham said, "Neither I nor anyone involved with the book--my publisher, my agent--thought anything about this: this is my arty little novel, it will sell a few thousand copies and then march with whatever dignity it can muster to the remainders tables. And, really, everything that's happened has been a surprise."
Director: Stephen Daldry
Screenplay: David Hare, based on The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Producer: Scott Rudin and Robert Fox
Cinematography: Seamus McGarvey
Editing: Peter Boyle
Music: Philip Glass
Cast: Nicole Kidman (Virginia Woolf), Julianne Moore (Laura Brown), Meryl Streep (Clarissa Vaughan), John C. Reilly (Dan Brown), Toni Collette (Kitty), Stephen Dillane (Leonard Woolf), Miranda Richardson (Vanessa Bell), Ed Harris (Richie Brown), Allison Janney (Sally Lester), Claire Danes (Julia Vaughan), Jeff Daniels (Louis Waters) and Margo Martindale (Mrs. Latch).
By Jill Blake
The Hours -
The opening cast credits differ in order from the closing credits, with Meryl Streep receiving top billing in the opening credits, and Nicole Kidman receiving top billing in the closing credits. The closing credits include an acknowledgment to the estates of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell for images by Duncan Grant. The Estate of Virginia Woolf is credited for permission to use quotations from her work throughout the film.
The Hours was based on the Pultizer Prize-winning novel by Mark Cunningham. Cunningham's novel, described by critics as "an homage" to British author Virginia Woolf, echoes Woolf's fourth novel, Mrs. Dalloway, which covers a single day in the life of an upper-class British society matron, Clarissa Dalloway, as she prepares to give a party attended by her husband Richard, her youthful rejected suitor Peter and her childhood friend and unfulfilled love, Sally Seton. Another critical character in the novel unassociated with the party is poet Septimus Smith, a WWI veteran suffering from shellshock who commits suicide by throwing himself from his doctor's office window.
Cunningham also crafted his novel using Woolf's literary concerns that included women's issues, a fascination with death, the mental process, the conflict between the internal and external and the contrast between reality and dream states. Many reviews of the film The Hours note that its source appears to be the least likely of novels to make a successful transition from literary work to motion picture. The film juxtaposes the three main stories and differing time periods, often in mid-scene. The various segments frequently are linked together by similar images or lines of dialogue that connect a character in one story to a character in another.
Adeline Virginia Stephen Woolf (1882-1941) was born in London and became one of the most notable and studied of modernist writers. Although as Virginia Woolf, she wrote nine novels, a play and five volumes of essays, reviews and memoirs in her lifetime, it was the posthumous publication of her abundant diaries and letters that brought about a full appreciation of her literary achievements. Virginia Stephen married political theorist and writer Leonard Woolf (1880-1969) in 1912, and in 1917 they founded the Hogarth Press, named after their home, Hogarth House, in Richmond, England, where the 1923 portion of the film is set. Along with writers E. M. Forster, Lytton Strachey, Virginia's brother-in-law, Clive Bell, artists Duncan Grant, Roger Fry, Virginia's older sister Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), and other writers, critics, painters, economic and political activists, the Woolfs became central figures in what became known as the Bloomsbury group, named after the London neighborhood in which the Stephens family resided.
As presented in the film, Virginia suffered from depression and mental illness, prompted by the death of her mother when Virginia was thirteen. Virginia attempted suicide at least twice during her marriage, yet had long periods of health and productivity during which she continued to write steadily after the 1925 publication of Mrs. Dalloway. As shown in the film, Virginia had a strong relationship with Vanessa and her children, Julian, Quentin and Angelica. Julian was killed in 1931 in the Spanish Civil War and Quentin went on to publish a critical biography on his aunt in 1972 that was instrumental in bringing to light Virginia's substantial unpublished personal writings. In 1987 Angelica Bell Garnett published a book relating a child's view of growing up in the midst of the Bloomsbury Group. Quentin Bell's biography notes that despite the close relationship between Virginia and Vanessa, Virginia envied her sister's motherhood and was grieved at her own childlessness. Leonard and Virginia had decided early in their marriage not to have children out of concern for Virginia's stability.
As shown in the film, Virginia began the outline for a novel in the autumn of 1923 that was initially titled The Hours and later changed to Mrs. Dalloway. Virginia also convinced Leonard to return to London in spite of doctors' advice that country life would help sustain her mental health. The film quotes verbatim Virginia's 1941 suicide note to Leonard, although according to Quentin Bell, she wrote at least one other note to him as well. As depicted in The Hours's opening sequence, Virginia committed suicide by drowning herself in the Ouse river in Sussex, 28 March 1941.
According to an August 1999 Daily Variety news item, producer Scott Rudin purchased the rights to Cunningham's novel with his own funds, not involving his home studio Paramount. Due to the studio's uncertainty about the project's success, Rudin later brought on board British theater impresario Robert Fox as co-producer. Daily Variety noted in a September 2000 item that along with Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow was in talks for one of the lead roles in the film. In October 2000, Variety noted that British theater director Stephen Daldry was set to direct. Paltrow fell out of casting discussions and Julianne Moore was then cast in the third starring role. Before the film began principal photography in late January 2001, Paramount negotiated with Miramax Films for additional production funds in exchange for international distribution rights.
According to an article on the film in the Wall Street Journal, Rudin ran into difficulties with Mirimax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein over Rudin's insistence on using a prosthetic nose for Kidman in her role as Virginia. In a Daily Variety article, costume designer Ann Roth revealed that the three leading stars's costumes employed the color palette used in Vanessa's paintings. According to a November 2002 New York Times article, the film's scoring was initially assigned to Stephen Warbeck, then Michael Nyman before ending with Philip Glass, over whose selection Rudin clashed with Weinstein. The January 10, 2003 issue of Entertainment Weekly indicates that the part of "Louis Waters" was initially shot with Zeljko Ivanek, who was considered too young-looking onscreen. Jeff Daniels was then hired and the scenes re-shot.
The article also indicates that actress Betsy Blair was originally cast as the older "Laura Brown" in the film's major closing sequence with "Clarissa Vaughan," but after the sequence was filmed, Daldry decided a cosmetically aged Moore would be more appropriate. According to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, as principal photography had been completed and Streep and Moore had prior commitments, the scene could not be scheduled to be re-shot until September 13, 2001. After events of September 11, 2001, air travel was temporarily suspended and while the schedules were being reconsidered, Streep suffered a family crisis resulting in another delay. The scene with Moore, by then seven months pregnant, and Streep was eventually shot in January 2002, one year after production initially began. At an American Cinematheque screening of The Hours, Kidman noted that because she, Streep and Moore filmed their sequences independently, she never met the other two actresses until the start of the film's post-production publicity. She also noted that Streep filmed her sequence first, then Moore, then Kidman after a six-week break necessitated by knee problems she continued to have following completion of Moulin Rouge!.
Eileen Atkins, who appeared in the small role of "Barbara in the flower shop," played Virginia Woolf on stage in A Room of One's Own and wrote the screenplay for the 1998 film First Look Pictures production of Mrs. Dalloway, which starred Vanessa Redgrave. The Hours was shot on location in London, Miami, FL (standing in for Los Angeles) and New York City. A November 3, 2002 New York Times article indicated that an intended premiere of the film at the Venice Film Festival was canceled due to continuing differences between Rudin and Weinstein.
In addition to being selected by AFI as one of the top ten films of 2002, The Hours was selected by the National Board of Review as its best film of the year. The film received seven Golden Globe nominations: for Best Motion Picture-Drama, Best Actress-Drama (Kidman and Streep), Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Ed Harris), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score. The picture won the award for Best Motion Picture-Drama, and Kidman received the award for Best Actress-Drama. Kidman received an Oscar for Best Actress, and the film was nominated for the following Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Supporting Actor (Harris), Best Supporting Actress (Moore), Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score and Best Adapted Screenplay. Kidman was also nominated by SAG for Best Lead Actress in a Movie. Kidman was honored as Best Acress in a Leading Role by BAFTA, and the organization also recognized The Hours for Achievement in Film Music. Daltry received a nomination by the DGA for its Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film Award, and novelist Cunningham and screenwriter Hare won the USC Scriptor Award for Best Adapted Screenplay of the year. Hare was also recognized by the WGA with an award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Winner of the Silver Berlin Bear for Best Actress (Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore) at the 2003 Berlin International Film Festival.
Nominated for the 2002 Best Director award by the Director's Guild of America (DGA).
Nominated for three 2002 Screen Actor's Guild awards, including Best Actress (Nicole Kidman), Best Supporting Actress (Julianne Moore), and Best Supporting Actor (Ed Harris).
Nominated for two 2002 awards by the Broadcast Film Critics Association including Best Picture and Best Actress (Nicole Kidman).
Voted one of the 10 best films of 2002 by the American Film Institute (AFI).
Winner of the 2002 award for Best Actress (Nicole Kidman) by the Las Vegas Film Critics.
Winner of the 2002 award for Best Adapted Screenplay (David Hare) by the Seattle Film Critics.
Winner of the 2002 award for Best Adapted Screenplay by the Writer's Guild of America (WGA).
Winner of the 2002 award for Best Film from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.
Nominated for Best Film by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards.
Released in United States Winter December 27, 2002
Limited Release in United States December 27, 2002
Expanded Release in United States January 17, 2003
Released in United States on Video June 24, 2003
Released in United States January 2003
Released in United States February 2003
Shown at Palm Springs International Film Festival (Tribute) January 9-20, 2003.
Shown at Berlin International Film Festival February 6-16, 2003.
Gwyneth Paltrow was formerly attached to star.
Released in United States Winter December 27, 2002
Limited Release in United States December 27, 2002
Expanded Release in United States January 17, 2003
Released in United States on Video June 24, 2003
Released in United States January 2003 (Shown at Palm Springs International Film Festival (Tribute) January 9-20, 2003.)
Released in United States February 2003 (Shown at Berlin International Film Festival February 6-16, 2003.)
Winner of the 2003 Artios Award for Feature Film - Drama by the Casting Society of America (CSA).