July 2, 2003

The Hours

I can't believe that I waited this long, but I finally saw The Hours last night. We rented the DVD a while ago, but finally had a chance to sit down and watch it. I have to admit that I was smitten with the exquisite cinematography. I'm not a film expert by a long shot, but the camerawork to my mind was excellent. The cast performed with a kind of emotional depth and sophistication that you rarely see anymore. I was thrilled with visual parallels (there's probably a more accurate film way of saying that) drawing the three stories together as indistinguishable parts of the same narrative. As a fan of the novel Mrs. Dalloway I think that the script really did do justice to all the sophistication of Woolf's psychological insight in the work.

This, however, brings me to the one thing that really damaged the experience for me. As I'm want to do... I watched all the little "extra" featurettes that the DVD had on there. I was utterly and completely disappointed both in the scholars and the film editors who put together the featurette on Virginia Woolf. I am *not* a Virginia Woolf scholar, nor would I attempt to impersonate one. Still, the featurette on Virginia Woolf, her mind, and her work, to me, was insulting. It placed such heavy emphasis on her psychological struggles that I got the sense that the makers of the featurette hadn't even watched the movie! Did anyone else see this thing? I felt embarrassed for the scholars who were interviewed. Their only real commentary seemed to condemn Woolf to a life so overwhelmed with emotional and mental turmoil that the *few* works she was able to finish emerged from brief moments of clarity in the eye of a larger emotional maelstrom. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Posted by c_jane at July 2, 2003 11:29 AM | TrackBack

Too bad the DVD extras weren't very good. I've often found they can be hit-or-miss. I'm wondering if the people who *made* the supplements (I'm assuming they were wanna-be directors, psossibly the director's assistants) didn't understand Woolf or the movie. I'm glad to hear a positive review of the film, because I've been avoiding it out of fear that it might be a too simple take on a complicated novel and a complicated human being.

Posted by: chuck at July 2, 2003 12:30 PM |

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Oops, I misread your post earlier, but I agree with your other question about misrepresenting Woolf, too. I think that might be why I found the book itself kind of frustrating. It seemed, from my reading, to reduce Woolf's literary and philosophical accomplishments at the expense of the psychological.

Posted by: chuck at July 2, 2003 8:04 PM |

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Unintentional byproduct of suicide: the one statement that tends to speak the loudest (and be remembered the longest). All else in a life tends to be interpreted in light of how it ended. Too bad.

I know what you're saying, though; it's very frustrating to see a person's work reduced in this way. Contrast "Pollock," in which the artist's creative process is thoughtfully portrayed (as are the demons that eventually brought him down).

Posted by: Amy at July 10, 2003 3:29 PM |

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