There are times, be they often rare, when a brilliantly written book full of narrative depth and lyrical splendor becomes re-imagined through the camera’s lens and smartly adapted for the cinema without losing any of its literary power. Michael Cunningham’s The Hours, an almost perfectly conceived novel that won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction was adapted for film in 2001 by Stephen Daldry, the director of the recently Oscar-nominated film The Reader (also adapted from a book). Like Cunningham’s book, the film is visually lush in its expressive hues and tones, often focusing on the evocative luster of flowers, the glowing and bucolic gardens of provincial England, or Mrs. Brown’s richly frosted birthday cake. Philip Glass’ somberly toned score is a harrowing body of music that brilliantly ties the narrative pieces together (Three different women, plots, settings and time periods), underscoring the intensity of despair and want that seethes below the placid facades of the primary characters--Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Brown and Clarissa Vaughan. Daldry deftly handles the story’s inventive unfolding, showing his talent for translating the essence of a book to the medium of film, while a star studded cast (Meryl Streep, Ed Harris, Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman) give great performances.
The hours [videorecording]