The Hours

1 h 54 min2003X-RayPG-13
HD. The story of three women from different eras, including famed English author Virginia Woolf, and a 1950s housewife.
Stephen Daldry
Meryl StreepJulianne MooreNicole Kidman
English [CC]
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Supporting actors
Ed HarrisToni ColletteClaire DanesJeff DanielsStephen DillaneAllison JanneyJohn C. ReillyMiranda Richardson
Scott RudinRobert FoxMark Huffam
Paramount Pictures Corp.
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Foul languagesmokingsubstance useviolence
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4.5 out of 5 stars

1583 global ratings

  1. 75% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Victoria J. DennisonReviewed in the United States on December 22, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Hours
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Absolutely a wonderful movie with superb acting. It was a very sad film and the viewers responded with their own perspectives on the film. The movie took place in different time periods which had a common thread running through them. In my opinion that "oppression" was the common thread. One poor woman living the 1950's dream (nightmare) of becoming the perfect "housewife" who in all honesty never could since she was a repressed lesbian living a life built on lies. The stigma of being labeled as a lesbian drove more than one person into a closet during that period of time. Then there was the female writer, in the Victorian/Edwardian days who was deeply unhappy and miserable and seemed doomed to commit suicide since there was no medication to help her; life seemed more like an exercise in futility. The third character a woman who was bisexual, in love with a poor fellow dying of aids in which they had shared many years of friendship. The ending I won't disclose. As a woman whose childhood took place in the 50's I can certainly understand and empathize with the female characters. As a fact of law: A husband could rape his wife in NY State until the end of the 1970's when a law took effect which made it a crime. A woman did not legally own her own clothing (the husband was the owner) until the late 1920's in the USA. Woman who did not conform (1950's) to what the stereotype of a female was were often institutionalized and given electroshock to snap them out of their malaise.
30 people found this helpful
Robert HayesReviewed in the United States on October 17, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
A melancholic rumination on suicide
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Why do people kill themselves? That is one of the central questions/themes that THE HOURS explores. Unfolding across three different time periods, this film tells the story of how the novel "Mrs. Dalloway" affects different women who have had to deal with suicide (or suicidal thoughts) in their lives. It stars Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf (who wrote "Mrs. Dalloway"), Julianne Moore as Laura, and Meryl Streep as Clarissa. Virginia Woolf, who has some mental health issues, is mostly confined to a country home with her husband and writes "Mrs. Dalloway" as a way to cope with her situation. Laura is a 1950's suburban housewife who, despite her external appearance, is very unhappy with her boring life. And then there's Clarissa, who is in a committed lesbian relationship and is planning a party for her writer friend Richard, who is also dying of AIDS. All three women have similar stresses and one of the strong points of the film is the way it seamlessly moves between each time period while still telling a unified story. It also deals with some weighty themes that will give you a lot to ponder aside from the key issue of suicide. Among these are social pressures and expectations, selflessness versus selfishness, what makes a person happy, etc. The acting supporting these elements was also top-notch, as would be expected from the outstanding cast, and each of the three lead actresses gets a scene in which to shine. I should also mention Philip Glass' score, which I was actually familiar with prior to seeing the film. I felt like his music was perfectly suited to the material, accurately conveying the sense of isolation, melancholy, and ennui common to all three of the central characters. However, the film's structure is partly its undoing, although not disastrously so. A lot of the dialogue is pretty on-the-nose, and the juxtaposition of scenes basically tells the audience how they should interpret what they're seeing rather than let them figure things out on their own. Still, the repetition of key dialogue from different characters and using match cuts to transition between time periods was an effective way to unify the narrative, as well as provide needed continuity. When it comes down to it, THE HOURS is a very well-made and well-acted film that deals with heavy themes and emotions, even if in a slightly pretentious way. This isn't a film I can see watching that often, if even a second time, but the potential for discussion and/or self-assessment makes this definitely worth seeing.
33 people found this helpful
rainbowsmileReviewed in the United States on October 8, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
have thought of it often over the years
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This movie always stuck with me since I first watched it long ago for the story of the housewife who is living as a shell of a person, with nothing to look forward to in life and no life of her own, and feeling that she fails miserably in her housewife role and has a different orientation. "The Hours" is the perfect title describing what it feels like in a life such as that. Depression that only the child knows of, as she puts on the facade for everyone else. Her love for her husband and wanting him to be happy, even as she is completely miserable, not feeling entitled to voice it or seek help. How can she complain with a perfect home, sweet doting husband, and sweet child? How many have led or lead lives such as this until they become unbearable? Whether it is a provider for a family going to a meaningless and empty job that they hate day in and out, and never complaining or thinking of their own needs because the money provides for what their family needs and wants. Feeling the hours drag on each seemingly endless day. Or, in this case, the stay at home parent who feels trapped in a life they don't feel they belong in and too many unbearable hours still until the kids are grown and they can perhaps do something else. There are many prisons in this life. Not just the obvious ones of slavery or actual prisons. But when people feel trapped by responsibilities and choices they made, not wanting to hurt others, and see no way out. Life is hard for so many on this planet - both wealthy and poor. Reminder to look at what choices we do have in life carefully and face life as best as we can and do what it takes to make it livable. It will all be over eventually.
6 people found this helpful
ginsingReviewed in the United States on September 23, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
A must see if you want a truly engaging and well executed movie.
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One of the most intriguing movies I've ever seen. 3 story lines are going on at once consistent with Virginia Wolf's stream of consciousness style of writing. I really had to pay close attention to what was being told in the movie as not to get confused - I liked this engrossing aspect. It had a wonderful storyline and also included my 3 favorite actresses ... Nicole Kidman, Julian Moore, and Meryl Streep. This movie evidently didn't get a lot of publicity because it was produced years ago and I don't remember seeing it in my home theatre. Perhaps people prefer mindless movies. So if you want an engaging move this is a must.
15 people found this helpful
mickie geeReviewed in the United States on December 19, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
despite the amazing reviews & acting—seems to be forgotten about. fitting for some of the themes
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I'm a huge literature nerd and major fan of drama films. I have also struggled with mental illness for more of my life than I lived without it. I am also a female-leaning bisexual woman and could relate to so many aspects of this. I love films that have plot lines sewn together throughout and/or in the end, and this succeeded with that brilliantly. three wonderful women and actresses, and a very proper and realistic use of themes and messages necessary to get through to the viewer. It is worth watching even through the very difficult scenes to paint the full portrait of its points - those of which being struggling with mental illness, the strength and intense weight of love past and present, repressed sexuality, the suffocation of gender roles and discrimination based on sex especially related to mental health, and the cards you're dealt when parenting through your own psychological illnesses. It's a really important movie, especially if you can relate to any of these things, or if someone you loved attempted or died by suicide or has struggled with the thought of it or mental illness in general and you need to know what goes/went through their head that leads them to something so permanently dark, or even why a writer chooses dark topics or morbid themes, why someone could want to die or be "going mad" over something that seems like an average day's slip up or common rough patch of life to you but is more than that for them… I would say certain other things about it that you might want to watch to understand more of but I won't spoil it, so maybe you should just watch it anyway :) it's worth it even for the superb acting, but also to understand the troubles and frustrations of anyone who has even the slightest similarity to the women in this story, including simply being of the same sex. it's also got great cinematography and historical representation of each setting and society. glad it's included with prime <3
2 people found this helpful
Sally AlterReviewed in the United States on April 13, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Based on one of Virginia Woolfe's novels, this many layered plot is worth unscrabling.
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Fantastic movie. Worth watching over again. I just love many-layered plots and this movie is glowing with them. A very complex story taking place at three different periods in history. The story is based on one of Virginia Wolfe's novels where she says, 'I think I'll buy the flowers myself" and this statement comes from the (3) main characters pretending to be something they are not. The plot touches on HIV/AIDS, Bipolar Disorder, neglect and many other controversial topics. The whole story is full of recurring symbols that express the theme. Brilliant.
8 people found this helpful
BudsterReviewed in the United States on July 15, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
I could not watch it all in one viewing. I HAD to leave it and come back to finish.
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Though this move was not written by Virginia Wolf, she was one of the characters and 1/3 of the story was about her. She was a dark writer and suffered from the disability of depression most of her adult life. This depression is the strong trait shared by the 3 actresses in the movie. And frankly it would be hard to say which had the best performance. If an Oscar could be shared, these three ladies should have all received Best Actress.

I had to stop watching the movie at one point. If you watch it, it's in the hotel room. I just couldn't stand the thought of what I believed was about to happen. I was deeply troubled, and in fact could not come back to the movie for two days. I went back and forth at the thought of not even finishing it. I'm glad that I did.

It's an eye opener in the illness of depression. And clearly shows how difficult it is for someone who does not have it to understand someone who does. The old cliche "just cheer up", just doesn't work.

I highly recommend the movie. Highly.
25 people found this helpful
J. JamakayaReviewed in the United States on October 24, 2010
4.0 out of 5 stars
Long & Intense but Worthwhile
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"The Hours" is a slow-paced, thoughtful and intense drama that deals with some of the most profound issues of life and death. The writing and performances are outstanding, and a special treat in the "collector's edition" is the voiceover commentary featuring the lead actresses, Kidman, Streep and Moore. What a pleasure to hear these great actors talk about the story, their scenes, work with other actors, their impressions of the movie vs. the book, Virginia Woolf, and so much more. Each expresses great pride in her work and "The Hours" is definitely an amazing showcase for all of them. There's also a separate track with the director's commentary, a documentary about Woolf, shorts about Phillip Glass's soundtrack and more. The film itself is just under two hours but seems longer, and I think judicious editing could have reduced it by about 10 minutes. There are so few intelligent and sensitive movies being made these days, however, that quibbling about its length seems downright disrespectful.
8 people found this helpful
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