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.


The Sixth Sense (1999) Film Review


After receiving an award for his work in psychology with children, Dr Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) and his wife Anna (Olivia Williams) are attacked in their home by one of his former patients, Vincent Grey (Donnie Wahlberg). Several months later, Malcolm feels he cannot connect with his wife and has lost his work mojo. Then he meets Cole (Haley Joel Osment), a nervous young boy who reminds him of Vincent, living with his wonderful mother, Lynn (Toni Collette). But when Cole reveals that he sees dead people, Malcolm has a challenge that, if he can sole, may bring him peace of mind.

Do I give away the spoiler? Along with the revelation of what Rosebud is in Citizen Kane and the big secret from The Crying Game, it has to be one of the most quoted spoilers of all time. Just for that, I’ll keep schtum. It is most certainly worth watching. It is tense and freaky and so very, very sad. Watch it. If you haven’t seen it, you really must.

The Sixth Sense was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Haley Joel Osment), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Toni Collette), Best Director (M. Night Shyamalan), Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (M. Night Shyamalan) and Best Film Editing (Andrew Mondshein).

Enough Said (2013) Film Review


Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a divorced woman who is kind of looking for love. Her work is as a freelance masseuse, lugging her table from house to house for work. At a party with her mate Sarah (Toni Collette) and Will*** (Ben Falcone), she meets a new client, Marianne (Catherine Keener) and then a bit later, meets Albert (James Gandolfini). Despite not feeling immediately attracted to this large man, she goes on a date, and pretty soon, things are going well. But the **spoiler alert** she discovers that Marianna is Albert’s ex-wife. Rather than informing either of this, she pretends that she doesn’t know, and uses Marianne’s complaining to define her relationship, and things get pretty nasty.

I can see why the film was as popular as it was, despite the really crap  poster. It was real; things like the first kiss between Eva and Albert is awkward, but in a real, romantic and lovely manner. I wasn’t over keen on any of it, really. There were funny moments, and I suppose the characters were mostly likable, but I just didn’t feel any real investment, and couldn’t care less about what happened to them. I wanted to; I just didn’t. But geez, it was nice hear Toni Collette speaking Aussie.

Enough Said was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.

The Way, Way Back (2013) Film Review


Surely a film about a fourteen-year-old boy who strikes up a friendship with a man in forties who refuses to grow is going to be a bit creepy? Well, apparently, no. This film has its creep factor, but amazingly, that’s not it.

Duncan (Liam James) is taken away for the summer with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette) to the holiday house of her boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carrell).  Trent’s daughter races off with friends, leaving Duncan to find his own way. So while Pam and Trent and enjoying drunken, stoned nights with vivacious neighbour Betty (Allyson Janney) and other friends, Duncan forms a friendship with the manager of the local water park, Owen (Sam Rockwell).  Owen gives Duncan a job where he starts to come out of his shell with the help of a strange group of employees.

This cast is filled with some of my favourite actors. In fact, I think I love little more in life than seeing Steve Carrell play a nasty character – and boy is Trent nasty. He bullies everyone around him, but comes across as jovial. The scenario is so well-played that I wanted Duncan to just leave, and had to remind myself that he is a fourteen-year-old boy. Where would he go? His desperation at times was so intense, and I found myself in tears several times. What a good sign that is.

Lillian’s Story vs Lillian’s Story


Kate Grenville wrote Lillian’s Story in 1985, based loosely on an eccentric woman who roamed the streets of Sydney. It tells the story of Lillian through three key stages of her life; as a child growing up with an abusive father, a reclusive mother and a brother always trying to hide; as a young woman struggling through the social niceties of a polite society within which she does not belong and finding her way through university whilst still dealing with her family; and as an elderly woman trying to find meaning to her life after forty years in an asylum. Lillian eventually finds happiness living on the street with a friend from her youth, entertaining and shocking people with her recitations from Shakespeare.

It was a very hard book to read. Told from the perspective of Lillian, it seems that she takes pride in being different and not fitting in, but the hurt of the rejection and abuse that she suffers cuts as deep as if it were happening to me. I can’t say I enjoyed the book, but it has stayed with me, and I will make sure I read the other two books based around characters from Lillian’s Story.


The film was made in 1996 and has a wonderful Australian cast; Ruth Cracknell plays the older Lillian, whilst Toni Collette plays her in her late teens/early twenties; Barry Otto plays her father and the older version of her brother; and John Flaus plays Frank. I wonder how anyone who has not read the book would see the film. It is always difficult to take a whole novel and squeeze it into ninety minutes or so, especially a film such as this with so many, varied scenes.

The film starts as Lil is being released from the asylum and discovering what has happened in the world. As she finds her place, she has flashbacks to key events of the past. Having read the books recently, I really noticed what was missing more than what was included; there was none of her early days, almost nothing of her mother, one of the loves of her life wasn’t there and many of the relationships were not explained. On top of this, a feature of the book is that Lil is fat – she deliberately makes herself fat as a child and never loses the weight, and it is commented on by many around her. But this is nowhere in the film.

I feel that it is a good film, but not for people who have actually read the book. However, it is not a film that very many people who have not read the book would ever watch. What a dilemma. If you have the option, I’d say read it.

Hitchcock (2012) Film Review


Surely, everyone has seen Psycho. If you study Media at high school, you’ve probably studied it. It’s a great film, well structured, and has given the world the shower scene, one of the most well-known attack scenes ever. I’d never thought about the process of getting it made in 1960. The film has adultery, robbery, murder, cross-dressing and whatever it is called with the dead mother’s corpse. Really, it is a surprise that it was made.

Hitchcock tells the story of Alfred (Antony Hopkins) and his wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), their love and her role in his career. It’s a good film. It’s better than good, but a long way from great. The performances are strong, and I wasn’t at all bothered by the extreme make-up used on Hopkins to make him look like Alfred Hitchcock. The story is complete and concise, and tell the story well. But it didn’t blow me away. Interesting, but not overly exciting.

Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel have been nominated for an Oscar for Makeup and Hairstyling

Helen Mirren was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, and was nominated for a BAFTA for Leading Actress