We begin our 10th anniversary celebration of The Hours, in the only logical place: morning rituals
A woman's whole life in a single day. Just one day. And in that day, her whole life.
-Virginia Woolf, The Hours
The central framing ambition of The Hours, is vocalized about 17 minutes in after the genius author Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) has written the first and soon to be rather famous sentence to (one of) her masterpiece(s) "Mrs. Dalloway." I'd liken it to that moment when the tea kettle starts whistling except that nobody is having tea. But, nevertheless the movie's three strands (1923, 1951, and 2001) have been simmering with, bubbling over and spilling into one another in Stephen Daldry's pot and we're definitely full steam. But first things first... what are our ladies having for breakfast?
Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) will just have a cup of coffee after a morning read. It's her husband's birthday which makes today not a completely ordinary day but I'm betting this tactical delay, this literary procrastination of the ohgodnotagainwhereamI zombie pregnant walk into the kitchen where chipper husband and doe-eyed needy son await her IS an ordinary daily ritual. She only drinks coffee but reluctantly agrees with her husband that little Richie (Jack Novello) should eat a balanced meal: orange juice, corn flakes with banana slices, and toast. He never takes a bite. His giant needy eyes would rather drink up his mama's every glacial move about the kitchen.
Though the movie forces parallels on us all the time, like Clarissa and Virginia both splashing water on their faces first thing in the morning, we don't see Clarissa's breakfast routine at all. But Virginia, like Laura prefers books and coffee to actual human company and nutrition.
Leonard: Have you had breakfast?
Leonard: Liar. Virginia it's not my insistence - it's your own doctors. I'm going to send Nelly up with some fruit and a bun.
[Death glare from Virginia]
Right, lunch then. Proper lunch. husband and wife sitting down together. Soup, pudding and all by force if necessary.
Heh. Can we talk about how marvelous Stephen Dillane is in this movie? He gets no credit but he plays off of Nicole Kidman's jagged edges so beautifully, as if he loves all of the aggravating parts of her, as if he's navigated her thorny whims for years and is only occassionally bloodied from the handling of them.
Right, breakfast then. I'm having scrambled eggs, apple juice, and banana slices thanks to little Richie Brown's well balanced example... and the whims of my own kitchen since I have no Nelly to bring me fruit and a bun.
Which one of The Hours cast would you most like to eat breakfast with?