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THE HOURS

"'The Hours' has turned out to be a splendid film. It uses all the resources of cinema--masterful writing, superb acting, directorial intelligence, an enveloping score, top-of-the-line production design, costumes, cinematography and editing--to make a film whose cumulative emotional power takes viewers by surprise, capturing us unawares in its ability to move us as deeply as it does...Nicole Kidman is galvanizing as Virginia Woolf, Meryl Streep is right behind her as a contemporary Manhattan version of Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Julianne Moore is also strong as a 1951 Los Angeles housewife whose life is changed by Woolf's book." --Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

"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 deeply moving film, directed by Stephen Daldry ('Billy Elliot') from a screenplay by David Hare that cuts to the bone, is an amazingly faithful screen adaptation of a novel that would seem an unlikely candidate for a movie...Through Ms. Streep's performance, the movie captures, like no film I can remember, the immediate, continuing interaction of experience and memory in the instinctive human drive to infuse the moment with meaning and value." --Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"The first thing that becomes apparent as we watch Daldry fragmentize/decode/ distill Cunningham's ethereal prose into something he can actually put on screen is that not everything can be put on screen...The most Oscar-calculated film of the season, and one whose Philip Glass score may actually drive you insane, the film contains some really first-rate performances, particularly by Kidman (and Miranda Richardson as Woolf's sister, Vanessa Bell). It remains a question, however, whether really great performances can exist in a vacuum, which is what Daldry has created for 'The Hours.'" -- John Anderson, Newsday

"'The Hours' is a deservedly strong contender for top honors everywhere. Mr. Daldry and Mr. Hare have succeeded in preserving and even enhancing both the episodic structure and the spiritual essence of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cunningham novel, with the help of an exemplary acting ensemble sparked by Nicole Kidman's extraordinary incarnation of Virginia Woolf...Each story is packed with suspense, feeling and a poetic wisdom about time, eternity and mortality." --Andrew Sarris, The New York Observer


"For its high-falutin' literary manner, for its eager embrace of politically and socially correct attitudes, for its breathless belief in its own significance, for its sentimental approach to female victimization, for the pretentiousness and torpor of its structure, 'The Hours' takes the prize." -- Richard Schickel, Time

"'The Hours,' written by David Hare and directed by Stephen Daldry, is a lovely, serious work that should find a larger audience than this kind of literary movie usually does. That Julianne Moore can be immensely touching is no surprise; that Meryl Streep, again playing a contemporary New Yorker, has achieved a new, flowing emotional immediacy at the age of fifty-three will shock no one. The revelation is Nicole Kidman as Woolf: tall, pale, severely beautiful, eyes cast down, with an awkwardly darting energy and a sudden harsh anger, as of an enormous bird disturbed in its rest." --David Denby, The New Yorker

"Like Todd Haynes' 'Far From Heaven' and Spike Jonze's 'Adaptation,' Stephen Daldry's 'The Hours' is a meticulous, elaborate stunt, a movie two degrees of separation from its source, and maybe another degree from viewers' hearts. Like those films, its impact is more esthetic than emotional...Despite pitch-perfect performances from the ensemble cast, we are too often reminded that what we're watching is the assembly of a heavily conceptualized literary puzzle. Fortunately, the largest piece of that puzzle belongs to Woolf, and--most certainly--to Kidman, whose self-effacing performance as this intelligent, troubled woman is a near revelation." --Jack Mathews, The New York Daily News