Sunday, 7 August 2011

THE HOURS – Michael Cunningham, 1998

Firstly, WELL DONE to Derby Art Gallery which now has the fantastic Joseph Wright paintings back on display.

And now, unfortunately, onto The Hours which is, even more than Never Let Me Go, a let-down.

How can a book inspired by the works and life of Virginia Woolf get it so wrong? Yes, I know it is particularly acclaimed and the film, too has been well-received. All I can say is ’Why’?
Virginia Woolf is a writer of excellence. She was ground-breaking and her troubled talent still reverberates today. We do not, therefore, need to invent a superficial narrative in order to make her contemporary. Mrs Dalloway does not need to be turned into a lesbian and Woolf’s own suicide does not need to be graphically described.
Anyone who is impressed by this tale of an American man dying of AIDS and his friend Clarissa should actually READ Mrs Dalloway. The best works of art do not need a new twist. They stand just as they are. ‘Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself’ … Woolf insisted on simplicity. She honed her language until it was exactly as she wanted it. It is arrogant of Cunningham to believe that he can surpass her and give her work an extra dimension.

No comments:

Post a Comment