Movies about Writers – The Hours

The Hours is a carefully intertwined movie made up of three stories. Three different women in three different time frames. Virginia Woolf writes Mrs Dalloway, Laura reads Mrs Dalloway in the Fifties and Clarissa kind of *is* Mrs Dalloway in the present. Suicide and lesbianism also link their stories.

Writing is shown as being a kind of madness. Or at least the creation process is shown as very closely linked to madness. Virginia is naturally, the only one who demonstrates any part of the writing process and they refer again and again to her fragile mental state. She drifts off in the middle of conversations, talks to herself. You can see her working out plot points and character developments, totally preoccupied with the creation of her story.

I can relate to that. Sure, not on the same level as depicted, but the being distracted, the internal working out of problems. The processing. I’m sure Lee could attest to the number of times I’ve suddenly blurted out a solution to a problem in my work in progress. Generally interrupting him mid-flow. This isn’t a very social thing to do since he doesn’t read my works while they’re in progress so he can’t really relate and probably doesn’t care very much.

Luckily I carry a notebook that I can scribble things into so he doesn’t have to remember for me.

The other writing related message from the film is the impact writing can have on people through the ages. One person writes a book and thirty years later it means something to someone else. Of course this is a romantic, idealised notion that relies on your book being well enough received to stay in print, or saved by kind librarians. One can dream for that kind of future as a writer!

The hours is a very good film, but it’s mostly not about writing. I can’t think of any other pearls of writing themed wisdom to relate. I liked the movie, will watch again.


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