The Hours (2002) Film Review



Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is battling her mental health issues and attempting to write Mrs Dalloway. Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) is a mother of a small child, pregnant to a second in the 1950s, reading Mrs Dalloway and struggling with depression. Her doting husband Dan (John C Reilly) seems to not notice how much she is struggling, even though her small child, Richie (Jack Rovello) seems acutely aware of it. Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) is a woman living in present-day New York who is throwing a party for her closest friend, Richard (Ed Harris) who has just won a literary award. He is ill with AIDS and between the illness and the medication, he is not mentally all that aware of what is happening around him. A long-standing joke between them is that he refers to her as Mrs Dalloway.

The film is beautiful and tragic and wonderful and only ruined by one thing – that nose. Nicole Kidman has a prosthetic nose, presumably because she is considered to beautiful to portray the plain Virginia Woolf. Bullshit. She does some decent acting here, but it is all taken away by the constant staring at that stupid lump on her face. If they really couldn’t handle having her with her normal face playing the role (and hey, if they wanted to make her Hollywood ugly, doesn’t she just need a frumpy dress, bad hair and glasses?), then perhaps they should have cast someone plainer. The whole nose thing made me so angry, because it treats the audience like morons. Grrr.

If you can get past the nose, do. Oh, and the unrelenting, too loud and melodramatic soundtrack. All three storylines have pain and sadness and so much depth in a short amount of time. The supporting cast is pretty fabulous as well, but it is the three main women who carry the weight of this heavy film.

The Hours won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Nicole Kidman) and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ed Harris), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Julianne Moore), Best Director (Stephen Daldry), Best Writing Adapted Screenplay (David Hare), Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Music, Original Score.


Homeland – TV Review


After being missing in Iraq, Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) is discovered and returned to the US. Not only does he need to deal with the trauma of years of imprisonment and torture, but he needs to figure out how to fit in with his family after such a long departure, as well as trying to prove to Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) of the CIA that he has not been turned to work for the terrorists.

Homeland took the world by storm a couple of years ago, and the second season was one of the series that were fast-tracked from US broadcast to Aussie screens last year in an attempt to avoid illegal downloads. (More of this, please, Aussie networks. Thanks) The major criticism I have heard from those who don’t love it is that the character of Carrie is unbelievable; she take medication for manic depression (I believe – I can’t quite recall if that is the condition, and couldn’t find confirmation in a brief online search), is extremely intense and, at times, quite manic, and I have heard it mused that such a personality surely would not have the power that she seems to have within the CIA. I can see where they are coming from, but it seems that she has had quite a lot of success in her career, and is a strong and intelligent woman.

I found the series to be extremely well-crafted and interesting. The characters were good, and the structure did keep you guessing – having the first series with the hero character of Brody as a possible terrorist was very clever and engaging. For me, I watched it, but only really loved it in the last episode of the first season. I found a lot of the sub-plots of the second season annoying – especially the character of Brody’s daughter and Brody’s wife. I just didn’t care about either of them. And then, again, the last episode of the second season blew me away. It’s not The Wire, or The Sopranos, or any of the HBO or Showtime series that I have loved. But it is definite a-grade television drama.

Homeland is based on the Israeli series Hatufilm (Prisoners of War) which is currently screening on SBS, but it is really only loosely based on this. It is a very different series, far darker.