The Hours Movie Critical Analysis Essay

Three women, three times, three places. Three suicide attempts, two successful. All linked in a way by a novel. In Sussex in 1941, the novelist Virginia Woolf fills the pockets of her coat with rocks and walks into a river to drown. In Los Angeles in 1951, Laura Brown fills her purse with pills and checks into a hotel to kill herself. In New York in 2001, Clarissa Vaughan watches as the man she was once married to decides whether to let himself fall out of a window, or not.

The novel is Mrs. Dalloway, written by Woolf in 1925. It takes place in a day during which a woman has breakfast, buys flowers and prepares to throw a party. The first story in "The Hours" shows Virginia writing about the woman, the second shows Laura reading the book, the third shows Clarissa buying flowers after having said one of the famous lines of the book. All three stories in "The Hours" begin with breakfast, involve preparations for parties, end in sadness. Two of the characters in the second story appear again in the third, but the stories do not flow one from another. Instead, they all revolve around the fictional character of Mrs. Dalloway, who presents a brave face to the world but is alone, utterly alone, within herself, and locked away from the romance she desires.

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"The Hours," directed by Stephen Daldry and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Michael Cunningham, doesn't try to force these three stories to parallel one another. It's more like a meditation on separate episodes linked by a certain sensibility--that of Woolf, a great novelist who wrote a little book titled A Room of One's Own that in some ways initiated modern feminism. Her observation was that throughout history women did not have a room of their own, but were on call throughout a house occupied by their husbands and families. Austen wrote her novels, Woolf observed, in a corner of a room where all the other family activities were also taking place.

In "The Hours," Woolf (Nicole Kidman) has a room of her own, and the understanding of her husband, Leonard (Stephen Dillane), a publisher. Laura (Julianne Moore), whom we meet in the 1950s, is a typical suburban housewife with a loving and dependable husband (John C. Reilly) she does not love, and a son who might as well be from outer space. A surprising kiss midway through her story suggests she might have been happier living as a lesbian. Clarissa (Meryl Streep), who we meet in the present, is living as a lesbian; she and her partner (Allison Janney) are raising a daughter (Claire Danes) and caring for their friend Richard (Ed Harris), now dying of AIDs. (We may know, although the movie doesn't make a point of it, that Virginia Woolf was bisexual.) If this progression of the three stories shows anything, it demonstrates that personal freedom expanded greatly during the decades involved, but human responsibilities and guilts remained the governing facts of life. It also shows that suicides come in different ways for different reasons. Woolf's suicide comes during a time of clarity and sanity in her struggle with mental illness; she leaves a note for Leonard saying that she feels the madness coming on again, and wants to spare him that, out of her love for him. Laura attempts suicide out of despair; she cannot abide her life, and sees no way out of it, and the love and gratitude of her husband is simply a goad. Richard, the Ed Harris character, is in the last painful stages of dying, and so his suicide takes on still another coloration.

And yet--well, the movie isn't about three approaches to sexuality, or three approaches to suicide. It may be about three versions of Mrs. Dalloway, who in the Woolf novel is outwardly a perfect hostess, the wife of a politician, but who contains other selves within, and earlier may have had lovers of both sexes. It would be possible to find parallels between Mrs. Dalloway and "The Hours"--the Ed Harris character might be a victim in the same sense as the shell-shocked veteran in the novel--but that kind of list-making belongs in term papers. For a movie audience, "The Hours" doesn't connect in a neat way, but introduces characters who illuminate mysteries of sex, duty and love.

I mentioned that two of the characters in the second story appear again in the third. I will not reveal how that happens, but the fact that it happens creates an emotional vortex at the end of the film, in which we see that lives without love are devastated. Virginia and Leonard Woolf loved each other, and Clarissa treasures both of her lovers. But for the two in the movie who do not or cannot love, the price is devastating.

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PURPOSES OF WRITING A CRITICAL ANALYSIS PAPER

A critical analysis paper, or essay, is the analysis of a book, article, or a movie. The aim of such type of paper is to concentrate on one of the aspects of the text or a movie and to describe it in a broad context.

It is necessary to enlarge one's knowledge and understand some points of view, events, facts, and evidence, or reevaluate already known things. In many instances, to analyze critically, we need to apply critical thinking skills, and the main secret of successful completion of the task you are given is the ability to read between the lines, see through the text to identify author's ideas, thoughts, and purposes, hidden in the handy-dandy plot and story.

The academic critical analysis is necessary to identify particular arguments, evidence, statements, opinions and facts stated by authors of written works. Such analysis is applied in many custom works, such as a literature review, critique article, research paper and so forth. By writing an analysis essay, we have a chance of diving deeper into information stated in this or that article to be analyzed.

Hence, main purposes are to acknowledge readers and students with a specific article, book, journal or story; to provide students with a possibility to research unfamiliar aspects of certain works; to give an evaluation to the analyzed material, and improve writing and critical thinking skills, which altogether has a rather favorable effect on students.

So, what is critical analysis, and how to compose an appropriate essay? At first, it is crucial to note that such a paper should contain many supporting sources. It is important to go through the chosen film/text several times, to get a thorough understanding of it. The professionals also recommend writing down all key aspects and ideas at the time. Then you need to make an outline that will be based on the notes you have made. It is better to make your outline very detailed, as it will tremendously facilitate the actual writing. When you are done with it, edit and proofread the work several times.

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CRITICAL ANALYSIS IN ACADEMIC WRITING

When students are asked to write a critical analysis essay of a piece of literature, it means that they should focus and do their best to identify the main idea of an author, his/her point of view about the created characters and events. Such papers are more difficult than academic or scientific articles when it comes to analyzing. On the other hand, the examination of an article requires more narrow or specific knowledge and may result in the need of conducting some more research to come to a complete understanding of a problem. As you may know, the work on the assignment of such kind should start with reading, listening or watching of what should be analyzed.

Regardless, to succeed in writing a critical analysis, it is necessary to understand all angles and perspectives of a text. Critical thinking is the exact tool called to examine a text, audio track, or movie to analyze any of those pieces. It implies taking extensive notes and annotating to be able to use these thoughts later in the paper. Once a person understands the work, it is essential to research unknown aspects of the problem.

After that, a person should summarize the information provided in the source or create an outline to define strong and weak points in the draft. If you choose to summarize, be sure to give a brief review and not to go into unnecessary details.

Literary works require deeper analysis to define an original purpose of an author, his/her thesis in the plot and even hidden motives. You are welcome to analyze the entire story critically, or concentrate on a specific part of the story and carry out a detailed review to find something that others cannot even notice. Sometimes, to make writing more versatile, it is important to identify an author's appeal, i.e., to logic or feelings. Identifying these things often helps to create an aggregate picture of the analyzed material.

Writing critical analysis papers, in many instances, requires providing potential readers with some background information. You, as an author, must be sure that readers understand what you try to say, as well as what the topic of the paper is. For example, if you write about a very peculiar, but scientifically narrow topic, it is necessary to clue readers in on that topic to make sure that they understand your thoughts and ideas.

Needless to say that every academic writing needs a thesis statement, and so does this one. To elaborate the statement, it is important to examine available materials. Finally, a finished work should be double-checked for possible mistakes and drawbacks. Although, if editing is not your strongest side, you can always ask Pro-Papers for critical essay help and let the professionals review and polish your masterpiece. This will save you some time, and guarantee you an error-free work.

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