In the reclusive town of Richmond, Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) has just begun writing one of her most acclaimed novels, Mrs. Dalloway. After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and having experienced a series of mental breakdowns, the woman feels smothered and severely suicidal in her own home. Desperate and petrified of rotting away in some unknown, secluded corner of the world, Virginia longs for the fervor and liveliness of central London. After an afternoon visit from her sister, Vanessa Bell (Miranda Richardson), the writer finally decides to make a run for the railway station, leaving her beloved husband, Leonard (Stephen Dillane), behind.
In parallel to Woolf’s timeline, Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) is a 1950s housewife who is pregnant with her second child. Disillusioned with life and deeply depressed, the mother cannot find any remnant of joy in the relationship with her young son, Richie (Jack Rovello), nor in her upcoming childbirth. Although on the surface she appears content and portrays herself as a happy woman who has everything, Laura is quietly planning her suicide and trying to decide where she can leave her son long enough to do the deed.
Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) is a New Yorker in the year 2001 who flawlessly embodies Mrs. Dalloway’s main character. As she ceaselessly and impatiently plans a party in the honor of her close friend and former lover, Richard Brown (Ed Harris), Clarissa becomes overwhelmed by the compulsive need for every detail to be perfect. However, she soon finds out that Richard is suicidal and has only stayed alive all of this time for her sake.
“Ms. Kidman, in a performance of astounding bravery, evokes the savage inner war waged by a brilliant mind against a system of faulty wiring that transmits a searing, crazy static into her brain.”
— The New York Times
“Even amongst the supporting roles, there are moments of spine-tingling wonderment, especially from Harris, as an AIDS victim, and Toni Collette, as Laura’s friend, whose repressed feelings animate her every movement.”
— Eye For FIlm
Did You Know?
The Hours was the original title of Virginia Woolf’s highly-praised novel, Mrs. Dalloway. The film’s director wanted to focus mainly on building tension and creating a unique and thriller-like architecture of the movie in order to successfully connect the separate timelines and stories. Daldry hoped that the motion picture would be able to reach and connect with a wider audience in order to open up a more reflective dialogue on suicide. Review our Gay Themed Films Here