The film The Hours was first released in 2002. The film is directly linked to the novel Mrs. Dalloway, which was written by Virginia Woolf and first published in 1925. Virginia Woolf herself is one of the main three characters portrayed in the film, and the other two main characters, Clarissa Vaughan and Laura Brown, are connected through the novel Mrs. Dalloway. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that the most important themes of the film also resonate with the novel.
Two important themes in the film The Hours are the themes of mental illness and suicide. Virginia Woolf is seen suffering from depression. In the film, this is shown through Virginia’s reduced appetite and lack of interest in her physical appearance, for example. Ultimately, her depression culminates in her suicide. Another character who commits suicide in the film is Richard, Clarissa Vaughan’s friend.
Mental health and suicide are also important themes in the novel Mrs. Dalloway. Here, the character Septimus suffers from mental illness and commits suicide. Interestingly, Septimus kills himself by jumping out of a window, which is the exact same method that Richard uses in the film.
Another important theme in the film is the theme of homosexuality. The most obvious example for this is Clarissa Vaughan, who is in a relationship with a woman, Sally. Richard, Clarissa’s best friend, is also gay. However, there are also strong suggestions in the film that the other two female characters, Virginia Woolf and Laura Brown, have homosexual tendencies.
This theme clearly resonates with the novel, too. For example, we learn that Clarissa Dalloway had previously been in love with a girl called Sally. Similarly, Septimus had a really close friendship with a man called Evans. Sadly, Evans lost his life during the war. Given that Septimus is so affected by Evans’s death, one could pose the question whether perhaps there had been more to this friendship. The novel never explicitly answers this question, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Septimus had indeed been in love with Evans.