Virginia Woolf recognized the importance of having a voice in one's own development, even if others challenge, disrespect or disagree with that voice, and apparently, whether or not that voice was at its most sane. "The Hours" is an applaudable performance, in that it successfully magnified that key interest of Virginia's. I take a departure from my peers' reviews when I say, that I feel the character of Laura Brown is a very true representation of a Woolfian character, and she really possesses a shared quality so often displayed in many of Woolf's novel characters: the need to self-assert because we can and therefore, we should.
What means a good film doesn't mean having virtuous characters. Nicole Kidman's Woolf mirrored the real Virginia Woolf in that she speaks to a greater cause, human dignity. You need to assert yourself against those who try to stifle or belittle the value you see in the choices you wish to make for yourself. When Leonard first confronts Kidman's Woolf and dismisses her plea to return to London, she says, "They [the doctors] don't speak for my interests [...] this is my right, the right of every human being." Leonard moved the press outside of London for the sake of Virginia's health, and now she wishes to relocate despite that gesture. This scene is the vindication of "I will get the flowers myself" or "I will bake a cake," because here we finally have a purely verbal form of self-assertion. Perhaps the most controversial and paradoxical representation of self-assertion in the film is suicide: the ultimate consequence of living the life you wish for yourself, may mean for you, the ending of that life.
Laura Brown continues this circular thought when she ponders, "What does it mean to regret when you have no choice?" At the end of the film, Brown brings us to the root of self-interest by examining it, proving that self-assertion often serves under the guise of selfishness, and that may be ugly and you may not like it, but it must be accepted for what it is because it is human. In essence, you may not have been able to live with the kind of choices I've made, but it is because of those choices I have been able to live with myself. Laura Brown choose not to live with false comforts, as Clarissa Vaughn has been doing.
In response to the melodrama that Brown brings to the film. I think filming Laura Brown as melodramatic is very true to Woolf's own approach to her characters: the internal drama that exists in all of us and that she wrote so uncannily. Very often, Woolf will have her characters leave us off with those one-liners, only to return to that character and never address that suspenseful thought again.
*While I was watching Kidman pace in the train station scene, there was something very familiar about her wardrobe, and I realized Burberry's SP09 line suggested some of that depression chic.