On July 1, 2003, I wrote in an online diary I no longer maintain:
I finished The Hours. I haven’t seen the movie, so maybe that’s why, but I just don’t see how one could make a movie out of this book. I mean, I’ve never read a book that seemed so intensely aware of itself as a book. It was almost like the book itself was the narrator, the thread that pulled the three stories together.
My memory crafted a much longer review of the book than that, but it would seem that’s all there is. I do remember feeling as if the book was good, but not the kind of thing I’d read again, and it was certainly not an uplifting book. I finally saw the movie on A&E today. I had been wanting to see it, but I hadn’t gone out of my way to rent it or buy it, and I just never got around to it. I have to say that the movie was extremely close to the book. I think, in some ways, it was better, because the actors were so incredibly good that they gave the book a kind of life that it didn’t have, at least for me. I especially liked Ed Harris as Richard, with whom I didn’t sympathize much in the book. Of course, Meryl Streep was great, as was Nicole Kidman (whom I defy you to identify as Kidman had you not known it was her). The scene in which Virginia Woolf pockets those stones and walks into the river was particularly well done. Through the magic of movies, the intertwining stories were actually more obviously related than in the book. The director was able to cut from one story to the next more fluidly than a writer can do with a pen, I think. However, I really disliked the omnipresent, overbearing soundtrack.
I think I feel about the movie as I did about the book. I don’t think this is one I could watch over and over. I’m not sure I’d want to see it again. It isn’t that I didn’t like it or think it was well done, because neither is true. It was just… depressing, I guess.