The Hours

Tuesday, January 28th, 2003 | Film

I saw The Hours last night, which seemed to have every great actress in Hollywood starring in it, each of whom delivered, particularly Nicole Kidman, who was so remarkably un-Nicole Kidman-esque that I got annoyed trying to catch sight of the familiar Nicole; Julianne Moore; and especially Toni Collette in a brief but unforgettable performance as Julianne’s neighbor. At one point, a comforting series of little kisses from Julianne ends in a big wet one planted smack dab on Toni’s lips. Toni says simply, “You’re sweet,” as if unaware of the longing behind the gesture. Even when it’s made implicit that the kiss may have been more, you see the denial delivered very tenderly, and at the same time you see her struggling against falling apart (she’s just discovered a growth on her uterus) behind a facade of smiley cheerfulness.

The film delivered a powerful but subtle message about the development of lesbian cooking skills, beginning with Virginia Woolfe’s near fear of food, to Julianne Moore’s incompetence in the kitchen, a metaphor for her discomfort in the mothering department, to Meryl Streep’s triumphant catering job at the end of the film.

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