The Hours (2002)

PG-13 | 110-111 or 114-115 mins | Drama | 27 December 2002

THIS TITLE IS OUTSIDE THE AFI CATALOG OF FEATURE FILMS (1893-1993)
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Director:

Stephen Daldry

Writer:

David Hare

Producers:

Scott Rudin, Robert Fox

Cinematographer:

Seamus McGarvey

Editor:

Peter Boyle

Production Designer:

Maria Djurkovic

Production Company:

Miramax Film Corp.
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HISTORY

       The opening cast credits differ in order from the closing credits, with Meryl Streep receiving top billing in the opening credits, and Nicole Kidman receiving top billing in the closing credits. The closing credits include an acknowledgment to the estates of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell for images by Duncan Grant. The Estate of Virginia Woolf is credited for permission to use quotations from her work throughout the film.
       The Hours was based on the Pultizer Prize-winning novel by Mark Cunningham. Cunningham’s novel, described by critics as “an homage” to British author Virginia Woolf, echoes Woolf’s fourth novel, Mrs. Dalloway, which covers a single day in the life of an upper-class British society matron, Clarissa Dalloway, as she prepares to give a party attended by her husband Richard, her youthful rejected suitor Peter and her childhood friend and unfulfilled love, Sally Seton. Another critical character in the novel unassociated with the party is poet Septimus Smith, a WWI veteran suffering from shellshock who commits suicide by throwing himself from his doctor’s office window.
       Cunningham also crafted his novel using Woolf’s literary concerns that included women’s issues, a fascination with death, the mental process, the conflict between the internal and external and the contrast between reality and dream states. Many reviews of the film The Hours note that its source appears to be the least likely of novels to make a successful transition from literary work to motion picture. The film juxtaposes the three main stories and differing time periods, often in mid-scene. The various segments frequently are linked together by ...

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       The opening cast credits differ in order from the closing credits, with Meryl Streep receiving top billing in the opening credits, and Nicole Kidman receiving top billing in the closing credits. The closing credits include an acknowledgment to the estates of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell for images by Duncan Grant. The Estate of Virginia Woolf is credited for permission to use quotations from her work throughout the film.
       The Hours was based on the Pultizer Prize-winning novel by Mark Cunningham. Cunningham’s novel, described by critics as “an homage” to British author Virginia Woolf, echoes Woolf’s fourth novel, Mrs. Dalloway, which covers a single day in the life of an upper-class British society matron, Clarissa Dalloway, as she prepares to give a party attended by her husband Richard, her youthful rejected suitor Peter and her childhood friend and unfulfilled love, Sally Seton. Another critical character in the novel unassociated with the party is poet Septimus Smith, a WWI veteran suffering from shellshock who commits suicide by throwing himself from his doctor’s office window.
       Cunningham also crafted his novel using Woolf’s literary concerns that included women’s issues, a fascination with death, the mental process, the conflict between the internal and external and the contrast between reality and dream states. Many reviews of the film The Hours note that its source appears to be the least likely of novels to make a successful transition from literary work to motion picture. The film juxtaposes the three main stories and differing time periods, often in mid-scene. The various segments frequently are linked together by similar images or lines of dialogue that connect a character in one story to a character in another.
       Adeline Virginia Stephen Woolf (1882--1941) was born in London and became one of the most notable and studied of modernist writers. Although as Virginia Woolf, she wrote nine novels, a play and five volumes of essays, reviews and memoirs in her lifetime, it was the posthumous publication of her abundant diaries and letters that brought about a full appreciation of her literary achievements. Virginia Stephen married political theorist and writer Leonard Woolf (1880--1969) in 1912, and in 1917 they founded the Hogarth Press, named after their home, Hogarth House, in Richmond, England, where the 1923 portion of the film is set. Along with writers E. M. Forster, Lytton Strachey, Virginia’s brother-in-law, Clive Bell, artists Duncan Grant, Roger Fry, Virginia’s older sister Vanessa Bell (1879--1961), and other writers, critics, painters, economic and political activists, the Woolfs became central figures in what became known as the Bloomsbury group, named after the London neighborhood in which the Stephens family resided.
       As presented in the film, Virginia suffered from depression and mental illness, prompted by the death of her mother when Virginia was thirteen. Virginia attempted suicide at least twice during her marriage, yet had long periods of health and productivity during which she continued to write steadily after the 1925 publication of Mrs. Dalloway. As shown in the film, Virginia had a strong relationship with Vanessa and her children, Julian, Quentin and Angelica. Julian was killed in 1931 in the Spanish Civil War and Quentin went on to publish a critical biography on his aunt in 1972 that was instrumental in bringing to light Virginia’s substantial unpublished personal writings. In 1987 Angelica Bell Garnett published a book relating a child’s view of growing up in the midst of the Bloomsbury Group. Quentin Bell’s biography notes that despite the close relationship between Virginia and Vanessa, Virginia envied her sister’s motherhood and was grieved at her own childlessness. Leonard and Virginia had decided early in their marriage not to have children out of concern for Virginia’s stability.
       As shown in the film, Virginia began the outline for a novel in the autumn of 1923 that was initially titled The Hours and later changed to Mrs. Dalloway. Virginia also convinced Leonard to return to London in spite of doctors’ advice that country life would help sustain her mental health. The film quotes verbatim Virginia’s 1941 suicide note to Leonard, although according to Quentin Bell, she wrote at least one other note to him as well. As depicted in The Hours’s opening sequence, Virginia committed suicide by drowning herself in the Ouse river in Sussex, 28 March 1941.
       According to an Aug 1999 DV news item, producer Scott Rudin purchased the rights to Cunningham’s novel with his own funds, not involving his home studio Paramount. Due to the studio’s uncertainty about the project’s success, Rudin later brought on board British theater impresario Robert Fox as co-producer. DV noted in a Sep 2000 item that along with Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow was in talks for one of the lead roles in the film. In Oct 2000, Var noted that British theater director Stephen Daldry was set to direct. Paltrow fell out of casting discussions and Julianne Moore was then cast in the third starring role. Before the film began principal photography in late Jan 2001, Paramount negotiated with Miramax Films for additional production funds in exchange for international distribution rights.
       According to an article on the film in the Wall Street Journal, Rudin ran into difficulties with Mirimax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein over Rudin’s insistence on using a prosthetic nose for Kidman in her role as Virginia. In a DV article, costume designer Ann Roth revealed that the three leading stars’s costumes employed the color palette used in Vanessa’s paintings. According to a Nov 2002 NYT article, the film’s scoring was initially assigned to Stephen Warbeck, then Michael Nyman before ending with Philip Glass, over whose selection Rudin clashed with Weinstein. The 10 Jan 2003 issue of Entertainment Weekly indicates that the part of “Louis Waters” was initially shot with Zeljko Ivanek, who was considered too young-looking onscreen. Jeff Daniels was then hired and the scenes re-shot.
       The article also indicates that actress Betsy Blair was originally cast as the older “Laura Brown” in the film’s major closing sequence with “Clarissa Vaughan,” but after the sequence was filmed, Daldry decided a cosmetically aged Moore would be more appropriate. According to the NYT and Wall Street Journal, as principal photography had been completed and Streep and Moore had prior commitments, the scene could not be scheduled to be re-shot until 13 Sep 2001. After events of 11 Sep 2001, air travel was temporarily suspended and while the schedules were being reconsidered, Streep suffered a family crisis resulting in another delay. The scene with Moore, by then seven months pregnant, and Streep was eventually shot in Jan 2002, one year after production initially began. At an American Cinematheque screening of The Hours, Kidman noted that because she, Streep and Moore filmed their sequences independently, she never met the other two actresses until the start of the film's post-production publicity. She also noted that Streep filmed her sequence first, then Moore, then Kidman after a six-week break necessitated by knee problems she continued to have following completion of Moulin Rouge! (see entry).
       Eileen Atkins, who appeared in the small role of “Barbara in the flower shop,” played Virginia Woolf on stage in A Room of One’s Own and wrote the screenplay for the 1998 film First Look Pictures production of Mrs. Dalloway, which starred Vanessa Redgrave. The Hours was shot on location in London, Miami, FL (standing in for Los Angeles) and New York City. A 3 Nov 2002 NYT article indicated that an intended premiere of the film at the Venice Film Festival was canceled due to continuing differences between Rudin and Weinstein.
       In addition to being selected by AFI as one of the top ten films of 2002, The Hours was selected by the National Board of Review as its best film of the year. The film received seven Golden Globe nominations: for Best Motion Picture--Drama, Best Actress--Drama (Kidman and Streep), Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Ed Harris), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score. The picture won the award for Best Motion Picture--Drama, and Kidman received the award for Best Actress--Drama. Kidman received an Oscar for Best Actress, and the film was nominated for the following Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Supporting Actor (Harris), Best Supporting Actress (Moore), Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score and Best Adapted Screenplay. Kidman was also nominated by SAG for Best Lead Actress in a Movie. Kidman was honored as Best Acress in a Leading Role by BAFTA, and the organization also recognized The Hours for Achievement in Film Music. Daltry received a nomination by the DGA for its Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film Award, and novelist Cunningham and screenwriter Hare won the USC Scriptor Award for Best Adapted Screenplay of the year. Hare was also recognized by the WGA with an award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
HISTORY CREDITS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Aug 1999
p. 1, 19
Daily Variety
8 Sep 2000
p. 5, 67
Daily Variety
25 Sep 2000
p. 1, 11
Daily Variety
26 Oct 2000
p. 1, 20
Daily Variety
12 Dec 2000
---
Daily Variety
19 Jan 2001
---
Daily Variety
12 Aug 2002
---
Daily Variety
30 Oct 2002
---
Daily Variety
4 Nov 2002
p. 1
Entertainment Weekly
10 Jan 2003
pp. 21-27
Entertainment Weekly
17 Jan 2003
pp. 52-53
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jan 2001
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jan 2001
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 2002
p. 1, 38
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 2002
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 2002
---
Los Angeles Times
27 Dec 2002
p. E1, E32
New York Times
8 Sep 2002
---
New York Times
3 Nov 2002
p. 1, 18
New York Times
27 Dec 2002
---
Newsweek
9 Dec 2002
---
Variety
30 Oct 2000
---
Variety
12 Dec 2002
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Scott Rudin/Robert Fox Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
1st asst dir, U.S. unit
2d asst dir
2d asst dir, U.S. unit
2d asst dir, U.S. unit
2d unit dir, U.S. unit
3rd asst dir
2d 2d asst dir, U.S. unit
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
"B" cam op, U.S. unit
"B" cam op, U.S. unit
Focus puller
Focus puller
Focus puller
Film loader
Film loader
Film loader, U.S. unit
Film loader, U.S. unit
Chief lighting tech
Chief lighting tech
Chief lighting tech, U.S. unit
Asst chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech, U.S. unit
Asst chief lighting tech, U.S. unit
Asst chief lighting tech, U.S. unit
Still photog
Video assist
Video assist, U.S. unit
Video assist, U.S. unit
John Robertson
Chief rigging elec
Asst chief rigging elec
Asst chief rigging elec
Rigging elec
Rigging elec
Rigging elec
Rigging elec
Rigging elec
Elec
Elec
Elec
Elec, U.S. unit
Elec, U.S. unit
Elec, U.S. unit
Elec, U.S. unit
1st company grip
1st company grip, U.S. unit
1st company grip, U.S. unit
2d company grip, U.S. unit
Grip, U.S. unit
Dolly grip, U.S. unit
Dolly grip, U.S. unit
Steadicam op, U.S. unit
Steadicam op, U.S. unit
1st asst photog, U.S. unit
2d asst photog, U.S. unit
Steadicam/1st asst photog, U.S. unit
"B" 1st asst photog, U.S. unit
"B" 1st asst photog, U.S. unit
"B" 2d asst photog, U.S. unit
"B" 2d asst photog, U.S. unit
Francois Duhamel
Still photog, U.S. unit
Underwater cam op, U.S. unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Supv art dir
Art dir
Art dir, U.S. unit
Asst art dir
Asst art dir, U.S. unit
Asst art dir, U.S. unit
On-set art dir
Art dept coord, U.S. unit
Art dept coord, U.S. unit
Storyboard artist
Storyboard artist
Storyboard artist, U.S. unit
Draftsperson
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed/Avid
Asst ed
Negative cutter, U.S. unit
Negative cutter, U.S. unit
Ed equipment provided by, U.S. unit
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec, U.S. unit
Set dec, U.S. unit
Prop master
Prop master, U.S. unit
Prop master, U.S. unit
Asst prop master, U.S. unit
Props storeperson
Chargehand props
Props
Chargehand dresser
Dressing props
Dressing props
Dressing props
Chief carpenter
On-set carpenter
Chief stagehand
Chief painter
Painter
Const mgr
Const coord, U.S. unit
Const coord, U.S. unit
Const foreperson, U.S. unit
Set dresser, U.S. unit
Set dresser, U.S. unit
Set dresser, U.S. unit
Set dresser, U.S. unit
Lead person, U.S. unit
Lead person, U.S. unit
Greensperson, U.S. unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Asst cost des
Cost supv
Ward master
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward supv, U.S. unit
Ward supv, U.S. unit
Cost, U.S. unit
Set cost, U.S. unit
Set cost, U.S. unit
Set cost, U.S. unit
MUSIC
Mus ed
Orig soundtrack prod
Orig soundtrack prod
Mus cond
Orch leader
Orch contractor
Mus score coord
Mus preparation
Mus rec and mixed by
Mus rec and mixed at
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Assoc supv sd ed
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Sd mixer, U.S. unit
Asst sd ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
Foley ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec asst
Addl sd services provided by
Addl sd services provided by
Boom op
Boom op, U.S. unit
3rd person sd
Cable person, U.S. unit
Dolby sd consultant, U. S. unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff coord, U.S. unit
Visual eff, U.S. unit
Visual eff supv, U.S. unit
Visual eff prod, U.S. unit
Spec eff supv rigger, U.S. unit
Spec eff diving rigger, U.S. unit
Spec eff rigger, U.S. unit
Spec eff rigger, U.S. unit
Main title des, U.S. unit
Opticals, U.S. unit
MAKEUP
Makeup and hair supv
Wigs by
Prosthetic makeup des
Prosthetic makeup des
Ms. Streep's hair and makeup by
Makeup for Ms. Moore
Hairstylist for Ms. Moore
Hairstylist for Ms. Moore
Makeup for Ms. Kidman
Hairstylist for Ms. Kidman
Makeup and hair asst
Makeup and hairstylist asst
Makeup and hairstylist asst
Prosthetic tech
Prosthetic tech
Sculptor
Key makeup artist, U.S. unit
Key hairstylist, U.S. unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
ADR voice casting
US casting assoc, U.S. unit
U.K. casting assoc
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr, U.S. unit
Unit mgr
Unit mgr
Dial coach
Loc mgr
Loc mgr, U.S. unit
Loc mgr, U.S. unit
Asst loc mgr, U.S. unit
Asst loc mgr, U.S. unit
Exec asst to Mr. Rudin
Asst to Mr. Rudin
Asst to Mr. Rudin
Asst to Mr. Rudin
Asst to Mr. Rudin
Asst to Mr. Rudin
Asst to Mr. Rudin
Asst to Mr. Fox
Asst to Mr. Huffam
Unit pub
Paramount financial representative
Prod buyer
Food stylist
Prod coord
Prod coord
Prod coord, U.S. unit
Prod coord, U.S. unit
Post prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst prod coord, U.S. unit
Asst prod coord, U.S. unit
Prod asst, U.S. unit
DGA trainee
Prod auditor
Asst auditor
Transportation capt
Transporatation capt, U.S. unit
Transporatation capt, U.S. unit
Caterer
Catering, U.S. unit
Catering, U.S. unit
Craft service, U.S. unit
Medic
Health and safety consultant
Tutor
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Glenn [R.] Wilder
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Color timer, U.S. unit
Laboratory consultant, U.S. unit
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Hours by Mark Cunningham (New York, 1998).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Satyagraha," music by Philip Glass; "Metamorphosis 2" by Philip Glass, courtesy of Euphorbia Productions, New York, New York; "Beim Schlafengehen" from "Four Last Songs," music by Richard Strauss, text by Hermann Hesse, performed by Jessye Norman, soprano, Gewandhaus Orchestra, Leipzig, Kurt Masur, conductor, courtesy of Decca Music Group Limited, under license from Universal Music Enterprises.
DETAILS
Release Date:
27 December 2002
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 15 Dec 2002
Production Date:
late Jan--early Apr 2001; addl shooting Jan 2002 at Pinewood Studios, London
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Paramount Classics
27 January 2003
PA0001113096
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Digital; dts Digital Sound in selected theatres
Color
DeLuxe
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
110-111 or 114-115
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
39136
SYNOPSIS

In 1941 Sussex, England, after author Virginia Woolf writes notes to her husband Leonard and sister Vanessa, she walks to a nearby river, places a heavy stone in her coat pocket, then wades into the river and drowns herself. As housewife Laura Brown awakens in 1951 Los Angeles, her husband Dan is preparing breakfast while Laura lingers in bed and begins reading a new book, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. In 2001 New York City, Sally Lester returns home early in the morning and slips into bed with her partner, book editor Clarissa Vaughan. Clarissa is awake but says nothing and shortly afterward rises, for that evening she is throwing an elaborate party for her best friend, Richard. In 1923 Richmond, England, Virginia joins Leonard in their dining room, but evades his concerned inquiries over whether she has eaten and instead reveals that she believes she has an opening line for a new book. Fearful that the demands of working might unsettle Virginia, who has long suffered from severe depression, Leonard nevertheless approves of her spending the day writing as long as she promises to eat lunch. Virginia retires to her study where she writes the opening line of a book revolving around a single day in the life of character Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares for a party. Laura, who is five months pregnant, reluctantly leaves her book to join Dan and their son Richie for breakfast and is chagrined to see that Dan has bought her flowers even though it is his birthday. After Dan departs ...

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In 1941 Sussex, England, after author Virginia Woolf writes notes to her husband Leonard and sister Vanessa, she walks to a nearby river, places a heavy stone in her coat pocket, then wades into the river and drowns herself. As housewife Laura Brown awakens in 1951 Los Angeles, her husband Dan is preparing breakfast while Laura lingers in bed and begins reading a new book, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. In 2001 New York City, Sally Lester returns home early in the morning and slips into bed with her partner, book editor Clarissa Vaughan. Clarissa is awake but says nothing and shortly afterward rises, for that evening she is throwing an elaborate party for her best friend, Richard. In 1923 Richmond, England, Virginia joins Leonard in their dining room, but evades his concerned inquiries over whether she has eaten and instead reveals that she believes she has an opening line for a new book. Fearful that the demands of working might unsettle Virginia, who has long suffered from severe depression, Leonard nevertheless approves of her spending the day writing as long as she promises to eat lunch. Virginia retires to her study where she writes the opening line of a book revolving around a single day in the life of character Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares for a party. Laura, who is five months pregnant, reluctantly leaves her book to join Dan and their son Richie for breakfast and is chagrined to see that Dan has bought her flowers even though it is his birthday. After Dan departs for work, Laura tells Richie that she intends to spend the morning baking Dan a birthday cake. Clarissa begins preparations for her party, stopping at a flower shop run by her friend Barbara who asks after Richard. Clarissa explains that the party is in honor of Richard receiving a prestigious literary prize for his poetry. Barbara mentions having read Richard’s single novel, a lengthy and difficult tome that clearly features Clarissa, then asks if it is purely fiction. Clarissa admits that the book has connections to true events, but Richard has made them his own. After selecting flowers for the party, Clarissa takes a bouquet to Richard’s warehouse loft apartment. Richard, who is debilitated by AIDS, welcomes Clarissa, affectionately calling her by his long-used nickname for her, “Mrs. Dalloway.” When Clarissa fusses over whether Richard has eaten breakfast, he abruptly explodes into anger about the literary award, suspicious that he is being honored out of pity. Clarissa makes light of the ceremony, but Richard chides her for constantly throwing parties to cover the emptiness in her own life. Richard confesses to feeling that he has failed as a writer to capture the essence of life. He then reminds Clarissa of a time long ago when they were young and shared a kiss on a beach and asks her what she wanted of life. He asks if she would be angry if he died and presses to know for whom she is really throwing the party, concluding that he has remained alive this long only to satisfy her. Annoyed, Clarissa insists that people must remain alive for one another, but Richard reveals he has no wish to continue living in a continual state of dependence and warns her that once he has died, Clarissa must face her own life. Virginia is annoyed by an interruption from Nelly Boxall, the cook, who has come at Leonard’s behest to inquire about lunch. When Virginia later reminds Nelly that her sister Vanessa and her three children will be coming to tea and states that she wishes the children to have ginger, Nelly protests that she will have to go to London to buy some. As a vexed Nelly departs, Virginia observes that it would be delightful to make a trip to London. As Laura gathers the cake ingredients, Richie, sensing his mother is inexplicably deeply distracted, assures her that baking a cake is not very difficult. Laura agrees and with forced brightness tells her son that she is making the cake to show Dan that she loves him. After the cake is completed, Laura is considering its lopsided sloppiness with disappointment when she is interrupted by a visit from her friend Kitty Barlow. Kitty laughs at Laura’s ineptness in the kitchen and Laura admires Kitty’s ease with people and her healthy marriage. As the women sip coffee, Laura observes that war veterans like their husbands deserve the security and happiness of a stable home. Noting Kitty’s increasing unease, Laura prompts her to confide that she is checking into the hospital that afternoon for surgery because a growth has been discovered on her uterus. After Kitty confesses her fear of the surgery and its implications, Laura comforts her and, embracing her, kisses her on the lips. Kitty thanks Laura for her sweetness and departs. Unsettled, Laura is annoyed to find Richie staring at her, then goes into the kitchen, where she throws away the cake. When Vanessa and the children arrive an hour and a half early, Virginia anxiously goes out to welcome them. Later, the children find an injured bird and Vanessa tells them the creature is near death and must be allowed to die. The children decide to give the bird a funeral, but when the boys grow restless, Vanessa romps with them while Virginia accompanies her niece in a ceremony, laying flowers around the tiny bird's body. Laura lies in bed deeply depressed, then abruptly rises to tell Richie that they will make another, better cake, then afterward take a drive. As Clarissa’s party preparations grow more frenzied, she is interrupted by the unexpected early arrival of Richard’s ex-boyfriend, college professor Louis Waters, who has flown in from California. After Clarissa warns Louis that Richard has been much altered by the disease, Louis reveals he has read Richard’s novel. Clarissa agrees that the book is difficult, but defends it and his decision to kill off the mother figure abruptly. When Louis admits he returned to visit the summer house in which he, Richard and she once lived, Clarissa admires his courage in facing the past. Louis is startled when Clarissa then collapses into tears and struggles to convey her sense of doom and feelings of being stuck in the past. In an effort to comfort Clarissa, Louis acknowledges that he only felt free once he broke up with Richard. After Laura finishes baking a second cake, she leaves the reluctant and crying Richie with his baby sitter, then checks into a hotel room. Sitting on the bed, Laura, contemplating suicide, lays a number of pill bottles on the bedspread, then reads more of Mrs. Dalloway . A little later, Laura considers her unborn child and in a moment of desperate struggle, realizes that she cannot kill herself. While Vanessa and the children chatter over tea, Virginia decides not to have Mrs. Dalloway die in her book. Vanessa chides her sister’s absentminded behavior then prepares to leave with the children. Suddenly saddened and envious of Vanessa’s active London life, Virginia hugs her sister and kisses her fiercely on the mouth, and guiltily, Vanessa bids her sister farewell. After Louis departs, Clarissa’s daughter, nineteen-year-old Julia, arrives to help with the party and is disconcerted when Clarissa admits that only when she is with Richard does she feel alive. Clarissa then describes how years earlier, while spending a day at the beach with Richard, she experienced true happiness and was certain the moment signified the beginning of a lifetime of happiness. She says she has since realized that that moment was the high point of her life. Virginia surreptitiously slips out of the house, avoiding Leonard in the garden. When Leonard learns from Nelly that Virginia has departed, he races off, alarmed, to the village. Finding Virginia at the train station, Leonard demands that she return home, but Virginia refuses, adamantly declaring her sense of imprisonment in Richmond. When Virginia decries languishing in the country when she longs for the clamor of London, Leonard reminds her of her long history of mental illness, of her two previous suicide attempts and admits that he fears her illness will return. Virginia maintains that it is her right to live as she chooses and acknowledges that she too lives with the specter of her own death. When she emotionally declares that given a choice between Richmond or death, she chooses death, Leonard agrees to move back to London. Laura picks Richie up and is uneasy as her young son appears to understand her unspoken intentions at the hotel. Richard looks at a wedding picture of his mother, Laura, recalling that day long ago when she retrieved him from the babysitter's home. Clarissa returns to Richard’s place earlier than planned and finds him in a heightened state of anxiety, pulling the shades off all of his windows. When Richard states that he cannot make her party, Clarissa grows panicked and assures him that he is not expected to receive the award or come to the party. Richard points out that after the event there would still be the empty hours of life to face. Desperate, Clarissa insists that he still has good moments ahead, but after recalling their past happiness, Richard thanks her for her love and throws himself out the window. At dinner, Dan thanks Laura for a perfect day and, as she listens uneasily, tells Richie how thoughts of Laura got him through his days as a soldier in the South Pacific. After dinner, Leonard asks Virginia why someone must die in her new book and she responds it is so that others may value life more and announces that the visionary poet will be the character to die. As Dan waits in bed, Laura sits in the bathroom, struggling to compose herself. Dan mentions learning about Kitty’s operation from her husband and Laura confesses her concern, then forces herself to go out to her husband. At the apartment, Sally and Julia help Clarissa clear away the party food when an elderly Laura arrives at the door, after having been informed of Richard’s death by Clarissa. Laura tells Clarissa how difficult it is to outlive one’s children, then admits she read her son’s book and was hurt that he killed her character, although she understands why. When Clarissa points out that Laura abandoned Richard when he was a child, Laura explains how years ago she made a decision after the birth of her second child that she would leave her family and has never regretted it. She describes her life as a housewife and mother as death and asserts that she chose life. Moments later, Clarissa retires and is joined by Sally, who comforts her, and the women kiss. Virginia writes to Leonard about the beauty of facing life, loving it and knowing when to put it away, and thanks Leonard for all the hours of their mutual love.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.