I’m sure it was more than the multitude of groans elicited from my father and my grandmother that began my fascination with The Hours from the first time I caught in on television. We tuned in, on shaky ground, right after Virginia kissed Vanessa, and somehow barreled through the movie for a bit, watched something else, and then tuned in just in time to catch Clarissa kissing Sally. No lie. This may seem silly, but this was my first experience with this movie. I had no idea what was really going on, but it was a (relatively) mainstream film and I was caught up in the Philip Glass and the delicious scandalous rush of it all, highlighted by my father and my grandmother’s fierce reactions of disgust and channel-changing. I was hooked and there were so many things I wanted to know. And I couldn’t show it.
This must have been 2005 (and I must have had my license) because the next day, I drove over to FYE and managed to find a used copy of the DVD for six dollars. I watched it that afternoon while dad was at work; no interruptions and no disapproval.
You cannot find peace by avoiding life, Leonard.
On the contrary, this film was one that threw you into the lives of these three women and the people that mattered to them. It was so delicate and yet so ceaselessly courageous, and I have never identified so much with one film, before or since.
From Laura Brown’s story we have the sense of a woman out of sync with her time and place in more ways than one. I really admired her acknowledgement of her unhappiness and the urgency of having to do something about it; of having to think of herself before others. I love her explanation to Clarissa Vaughn:
It would be wonderful to say you regretted it. It would be easy. But what does it mean? What does it mean to regret when you have no choice? It's what you can bear. There it is. No one's going to forgive me. It was death. I chose life.
She teaches Richard that we cannot live for others, try as we may; Richard sees a similar pattern in Clarissa [“Just wait till I die. Then you'll have to think of yourself. How are you going to like that?”].
At the same time, Clarissa expresses emotions that I have certainly felt. [“When I'm with him I feel... Yes, I am living. And when I'm not with him... Yes, everything does seem sort of silly”]. The three impulsive kisses in this film speak to this urgency, this relevancy of the person’s presence in their lives. With Philip Glass’s incredible score to top it off, this movie is intoxicating and inspiring.