The Hours is a 2002 movie directed by Stephen Daldry and produced by David Hare; both men were given plaudits upon plaudits for adapting Michael Cunningham's original novel and bringing it to life as the book was widely considered to be unadaptable. Although a rather depressing movie in terms of subject matter it was critically acclaimed chiefly because of the outstanding performances of its three leading ladies -Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman.
The movie's plot spans various time periods in the Twentieth Century. The drama revolves around three women all uniquely affected by Virginia Woolf's novel "Mrs Dalloway". The first is Woolf herself, (played by Nicole Kidman), in 1923, battling a writer's block and depression and struggling to complete the writing of her novel. The second, Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), is struggling with depression just like Woolf. She reads Woolf's novel I'm 1949 as she is planning a birthday party for her husband. The third, Clarissa Vaughan, (Meryl Streep), is a book editor in modern-day New York. She is in the middle of organizing a farewell party for her former lover, Richard, who has AIDS. Richard is a successful and famous writer himself and nicknamed Clarissa "Mrs Dalloway." Every story is linked - for example, by the planning of a party, or by struggling with depression, each mini-tale showing women trapped in their individual boxes struggling to break out and escape before they lose their identities entirely.
The most controversial aspect of this movie is the fact that the Best Actress Academy award was actually given to Nicole Kidman; although her performance was strong, she had significantly less screen time than either Moore or Streep and many critics felt that she was more suited to the Supporting Actress category. Despite a rather depressing and "navel-gazing" perspective, the movie was successful and grossed over forty one million dollars.