The Hours (2003)

Nicole Kidman won an Oscar as novelist Virginia Woolf in this complex drama exploring Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway through the experiences of women from different eras and places.

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“This is a story of frustrated desire and mortality and loss, but also one in which each character finds something precious where they may not expect it.”
Andrew O’Hehir,, 2002

Stephen Daldry’s acclaimed film moves between three parallel stories, each set during the course of a single day. Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is discovered in early-1920s Surrey, in a deep depression as she’s about to start work on her modernist masterpiece Mrs Dalloway. Julianne Moore’s unhappy, heavily pregnant housewife is contemplating suicide in early 1950s Los Angeles. And Meryl Streep’s lesbian literary editor is facing the death from Aids of her best friend and ex-lover (Ed Harris) in contemporary New York.

A sensitive portrait of women trapped by and struggling to escape from convention, The Hours was adapted for the screen by David Hare from Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1998 novel, itself inspired by Mrs Dalloway.

Mrs Dalloway itself was filmed by Marleen Gorris in 2007, with Vanessa Redgrave in the title role. Sally Potter’s Orlando (1992) is another notable adaptation of a Virginia Woolf novel.

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