Some life left in this movie, but prepare to be frustrated and don't go to see it when you're depressed.
Now here's a challenge. Take three completely different plot lines happening in three different time periods and weave all together like spaghetti in a 2 hour movie. What do you get? The Hours. Those of us who were born multi-taskers and can parallel-process like crazy will have no problem following this. God help the rest of you. It is suggested that most women have the ability to process information in parallel whereas men for the most part do not. Therefore, this movie has been labeled a chick flick. However, I disagree. Chick flicks are supposed to be those stories that women can relate to on a deeply personal level. Judging by the conversations in the women's restroom after the movie, I think this one missed the mark. Why? The screenplay and the book that served as the basis for the movie were written by men. Enough said.
Okay, now the plot lines. The earliest plot line is that of Virginia Wolff (Nicole Kidman plus additional nose), in 1941, in Richmond, England. The plot consists of Virginia whining to her husband Leonard to move back to London. No kidding. That's basically all that's going on. The next plot line chronologically is that of Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), in 1951, in Los Angeles. This is the best part of the movie. Laura is stuck in a post-war baby boom existence not knowing what to do with her life. In what must have been happening throughout countless American households at the time, it was Rosie the Riveter now having to bake a cake. Twice in one day. How depressing. And you could tell her little boy was going to be a seriously deranged guy when he grew up. He was downright spooky with his knowing. Great stuff. The third plot line is Clarissa (Meryl Streep), in 2001, in New York. Clarissa is (now) a lesbian living with Sally (Allison Janney), giving a party for her ex-lover-before-she-was-a-lesbian, Richard (Ed Harris). Clarissa has a daughter, Julia (Claire Danes) whose father was - hmm - a sperm donor?? We just don't know. Anyway, Richard has just won a poetry award and also has AIDS and is not thrilled about going to Clarissa's house for the party in his honor. So - there you have the three plot lines that are supposed to represent one day in each woman's life and they all have a connection to books and to flowers.
As if it wasn't difficult enough to keep all three plot lines straight (if you blinked during a 1951 scene, you were BAM - back in 1941 when you opened your eyes) - there were holes. Many, many questions went unanswered, Mr. author and Mr. screenwriter, and guaranteed that I'm not the only woman wondering about these questions! Like, for example:
What happened to Laura's neighbor who was in the hospital? Did she stay with her husband? Die of cancer? Whose medication was Laura taking? Why was Virginia afraid of the servants? Did Virginia really love her sister? What's with Clarissa's relationship with her daughter - what did she think of her mother's partner? Did her daughter know/love Richard? Was her daughter's father just a sperm donor? Why was Richard's mother considered the "monster" - huh? You left us all wondering. What happened to Richard's ex after the party; did he just go home? Did they tell him what happened to Richard? How did he react; with regret? How did that change his relationship with Clarissa? If Clarissa was with Richard before or after his ex, did she avoid contracting AIDS? Did it come up?
So, there you have it. Multiple plots, lots of holes, Nicole with a big nose looking ugly, some pretty good individual performances, 2 hours viewing time required, 16 hours to figure out the movie afterwards.