After reading the few posts before my own, I came to the realization that I am somewhere in between Rob’s enjoyment of the film and Arschel’s disdain for the film. There were scenes and issues that I found boring and uninteresting. But I also found several scenes very touching and truthful about the way relationships develop and break apart.
For me, the scenes and characters that I cared the least about were the ones involving Julianne Moore. Her story had so many possibilities and there were so many chances for the movie to do more with her character. I wish she had spent more time talking with Kitty about their husband’s time in the war. Laura tells Kitty that they owe them for their service in WWII. Kitty has no idea what she means and Laura replies “Well, with all of this.” I wish the movie would have pushed this scene and these hidden desires and questions about the way veterans interacted with their wives. Laura appears as if she actually believes this statement. She is living this ‘cookie cutter’ lifestyle because she feels as though she owes it to her husband. This would have been more compelling and much more interesting to me. But instead her story bothered and annoyed me.
However, Clarissa’s story I found to be more exciting and interesting. There is a good chance this occurred because I think Ed Harris is a brilliant actor and I think he did a tremendous job. Rarely, if ever, do you hear about his performance in this movie. Not only does he play a convincing poet, often discussing why or why not he enjoys the life; but more importantly, I believed that he had AIDS and that he was going to die from it. I personally know someone who contracted and died from AIDS and I know what it does to the human body and I know what a person looks like who is suffering from the disease. Tom Hanks looked like he had the disease in Philadelphia and Ed Harris assuredly looked like he had contracted and was dying from the dreaded disease. He was able to make his character, Richard, suffer from terrible mood swings, varying from anger to sadness to happiness in the blink of an eye. I found his story compelling and I feel that Clarissa’s embodiment of Mrs. Dalloway (as Rob mentioned earlier) gave the story more substance and meaning. I felt that she, above all other characters, demonstrated and acted like Mrs. Dalloway, a hostess who was not actually alright.