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Film Reviews:  The Hours Movie and  Women's History

The three women characters in the movie portray large segments of women in society, not all of course, because this movie is really about only three women who symbolize parts of women’s history.

First, there is Virginia Woolf’s character.  She is an intelligent, bright woman who was doing what she did best.  Fortunately, she was in a class of society where she was able to pursue her writing.  If she had to worry about where her next meal was going to come from, it would have been different for Woolf.  She had female servants to order around and where her next meal was going to come from was not a worry.  Instead, she was able to focus on her writing, on universal themes of  life and death, in peaceful surroundings.

Before the Second World War, movies at this time included females in strong, career-oriented roles as shown by actresses like Rosalind Russell.  During the Second World War, females took over a lot of the men’s jobs and because of this, they were taking "suffragation" to a new level.  

Then the 1950s came along and women put their energies on fancy wrapping of packages, on the sending of greeting cards, and the like.  These women, again not all women, lived the life society marketed to them.  Moore’s character didn’t want this kind of life.  She could barely bake a half decent cake.  What's ironic is, why did she get pregnant again, if her life as she knew it was already miserable?

Then there’s Streep’s character—the career woman of today.  She is busy with her job and her visits with Harris that she completely forgets about truly looking at herself and her happiness.  After Harris brings this to her attention, of Streep acting out the part of Mrs. Dalloway, who gives parties to hide her hidden discontent, Streep starts to look for those moments in her life where she was truly happy.  She shares one, happy memory with her daughter, while the two of them are resting on the bed.  While Moore was lying on the bed in the hotel room in despair, Streep is on the bed, with her daughter, happy.  So these two images of these two women at different times in history relate in the sense that Moore’s character has “evolved” into Streep’s character and in it, there’s happiness to be found.

The movie ends with Streep kissing with her female partner and thus, Streep chooses life, but this time, she chooses it after truly looking inward, after having her breakdown, after her friend, Harris, dies, to release her Mrs. Dalloway persona, after Moore reveals the darkness of the no-regret feelings of her abandoning her children.

With all this knowledge and realization, Streep, today’s woman, becomes even stronger and chooses life.

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