The Hours (2002) Movie Review

By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

Michael Cunningham is currently one of the most prolific writers in contemporary literature. His work includes By Nightfall and The Snow Queen. Cunningham has the unique talent of taking classic tales, and re-imagining them as modern-day masterpieces. That is because The Snow Queen references the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson, and the novel that earned him the Pulitzer Prize centers around Virginia Woolf. Stephen Daldry and David Hare were bold enough to adapt The Hours even though some critics argued that the novel would not translate well to the silver screen. Nevertheless, the final product ended up being a major awards contender in 2002.

A Toast

This film contains all of the elements of a major Oscar contender. Nicole Kidman earned her first Oscar right after receiving her first nomination for Moulin Rouge! the year before. It allowed Julianne Moore to receive a nomination for her supporting role as the housewife Laura Brown. It also features Meryl Streep as Clarissa Vaughan, who is basically a Twenty-First Century Mrs. Dalloway. All three actresses shine in this tale of three different women all living a lie. The film actually explores very deep concepts that Virginia Woolf explored in her writing, such as social status and mortality. Nicole Kidman also did voiceover work as Virginia Woolf because there would be times in which she would deliver short vocal monologues that could be heard in the background. It is almost as if Kidman was able to bring the beloved author to life in order to critique both her own historical era and modern society simultaneously. This film is a great example about how women can be at the heart of a film while teaching audiences powerful life lessons.


Virginia Woolf lives on within her published writing and also provides inspiration to artists who dare to dream. Cunningham deserved his Pulitzer Prize for honoring such an iconic woman. It is actually a bit of a shame that The Hours only received one Oscar for Kidman’s performance. During Oscar night, Denzel Washington actually made a joke about how Kidman had to wear a fake nose in order to resemble Virginia Woolf. Nevertheless, all three actresses worked together in a collaborative effort to celebrate the legacy of a beloved author. Virginia Woolf really did leave a lasting impression on the world, and this film honors her genius.

The Hours (2002) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever there is a time jump between the different eras within this film (which are 1923, 1941, 1951, and 2001).

Take a Drink: during every depressing moment

Drink a Shot: during every reference to Mrs. Dalloway

About Alex Phuong

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University-Los Angeles in 2015. His love affair with cinema began after discovering Turner Classic Movies in the summer of 2004. His favorite film director is Woody Allen, and his favorite movie star is Kate Winslet.

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