I saw The Hours in its initial release and was blown away. I watched it three times in the movie theater. Why was I so attracted to a movie about three women and how their experiences revolved around a novel? One written by the one who could not get the voices out of her head, and who committed suicide so that her husband of nearly 29 years could live his life? It had to be, I thought, the poor fly unable to avoid the web of the spider.
The novel was Mrs. Dalloway. The author, Virginia Woolf.
It was more than that. The performances were more than amazing, and if you would have told me that Nicole Kidman had this kind of performance in her BEFORE this movie, I would not have believed it. She was brilliant as Virginia Woolf.
Her performance reminded me of my father.
Before my sister was born in 1961, my father spend time in a mental hospital . . . unaffectionately known at the time as an "insane asylum." As a three year-old I could barely pronounce the name of our car, a Chevrolet, but I damn sure could pronounce the words, "insane asylum." My father's family and neighbors taught me how to pronounce it very well, every day as a matter of fact.
He later told me of how they used electric shock therapy on him, jolting him with massive amounts of electricity so that he would give them an appropriate response.
At times at two or three in the morning, he would tell me why that was wrong and how it made him feel. And as a child, I couldn't relate! I tried, but couldn't grasp it!
Years later, one doctor, a brain surgeon from Houston Texas, found the cause of my father's mental illness, a hereditary brain tumor passed from male to male, that could be seen by looking through the eyes.
My father was always conservative . . . at times, reactionary . . . but he always had compassion for people with mental challenges. He was the one who taught me that "disease," meant dis … ease, and that mental illness was completely misunderstood. He was right, way-back-when.
I wonder what might have happened with Virginia Woolf, if we knew then what we know now.
Just some thoughts, and a confession of sorts. I've never mentioned to you that my father spent time in a mental hospital before, because the phrase "insane asylum" just pops into my mind every time I think about it. And I don't like that phrase. Not at all! It is a cruel term, I think.
I did love the movie, though. 9 out of 10.