Friday, September 7, 2007

The Hours Book vs. Movie

As a book, “The Hours” seems to be a conglomeration of characters, situations, memories, and emotions. In its movie form, it is a more coherent and consistent mixture. This is, for the most part, a good thing. It does, however, occasionally result in the loss of some of the plot’s cleverness and insight. One such instance: Mary Krull is omitted entirely in the movie.

Although her appearance in the book is short-lived and rather inconsequential, she is nonetheless an interesting character. She not only emphasizes the differences between Clarissa and her daughter Julia, but also shows the differences within a group of people. Mary is an activist/feminist in the extreme, whereas Clarissa is an average person, except that she has a “partner” rather than a husband.

The part in the book when they come face to face is, I think, one of the most fascinating and the most comic. Clarissa is, according to Mary, a fool for living her life in a normal way and Mary is, in Clarissa’s mind, a fad and a joke. I also think it is interesting how both of them try to get along at first, but in the end decide that they cannot. That part of the book made me think, and it is, generally speaking, a good thing when a book makes you think and examine the world around you.

It is the stories and the characters that teach us something that we remember the most from the books that we read and the movies that we watch.

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