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Film Essay – the Hours

The Hours Mellissa Krause 02/08/13 Production: Paramount Pictures/ Miramax Films, January 2003 Producer: Robert Fox; Scott Rudin; Mark Huffman Director: Stephen Daldry Screenplay: David Hare (screenplay); Michael Cunningham (novel) Cinematography: Seamus McGarvey Editing: Peter Boyle Music: Philip Glass Principal Characters: Clarissa Vaughan Meryl Streep Laura Brown Julianne Moore Virginia WoolfNicole Kidman Richard Brown Ed Harris KittyToni Collette Julia Vaughan Claire Danes Louis WatersJeff Daniels Leonard WoolfStephen Dillane

Sally LesterAllison Lester Dan Brown John C.Riley Vanessa BellMiranda Richardson The pacing in the film The Hours reinforces the mood greatly throughout the film .The film is about three women in three different time periods who all experience suicidal thoughts and homosexual feelings.

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Although a slower pace, the film has a definite tempo to it, moving between the three main characters smoothly through parallel cuts in a cross-cutting fashion. Most of the pacing is slow, suggesting a thoughtful approach to the movie for the viewer.

At times, the film’s pacing mocks the classical music playing in the background, therefore very little contrast in pacing exists. The editing helps to portray a very smooth, almost choreographed feeling to the film. That said, the music in the film, almost a constant, speeds up and slows down during more exciting scenes. An example is during the scene when an adult Richard Brown falls to his death. The music is very calm as he is speaking to his close friend Clarissa Vaughan and then as he falls from the window, the piano in the background gains a much quicker tempo.

In one of the opening sequences of the film, the use of jump cuts (all straight cuts) between the characters of Virginia Woolf and Clarissa Vaughan both doing the same tasks, getting ready for the day, shows Clarissa starting to put her hair in a bun and then cuts to Virginia Woolf doing the same. This use of narrative advancement between two time periods begins the task of tying the characters together. This technique is used again shortly thereafter in a montage where all three women, Clarissa Vaughan, Laura Brown, and Virginia Woolf all speak of flowers.

Virginia Woolf speaks of her main character “getting the flowers herself”, then in the next scene cut to Laura Brown starting to read the book Mrs. Woolf is writing in the prior scene and speaks aloud the first line “Mrs. Dalloway buys the flowers herself” which Mrs. Woolf referenced in the prior scene, and in the last scene Clarissa Vaughan (often referred to as Mrs. Dalloway such as in Virginia Woolf’s novel referenced throughout the film) says “ Sally, I think I will buy the flowers myself”. This successfully ties all three timeframes together along with the characters while supplying the viewer with their common thread.

In one of the most poignant sequences when Laura Brown is driving a young Richard Brown back home after she almost kills herself at a hotel. She looks at him and tells him, “Your my guy” and the child smiles the brightest smile of the whole film, very faint slow motion is used at this point to portray the intensity of the situation. This technique also helps with the transition to another time period. Jump cut to another very intense scene where an adult Richard Brown is remembering this and weeping. Another great transition which rakes place is through the use of inside/out editing.

While most the film is editing is done from the outside/in perspective, one scene where Virginia Woolf is at the train station, we are jolted from the home of Clarissa Vaughan to a view of a moving train and eventually the details are revealed that the viewer has been transported back to England with Mrs. Woolf as the camera pans back. Works Cited The Hours. Dir. Stephen Daldry. Paramount Pictures/Miramax Films. 2003. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/The_Hours_(film) http://www. imdb. com/title/tt0274558/fullcredits? ref_=tt_ov_st_sm#cast

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