''The Hours'' is a must-see for fall 2002
WHY WE CAN’T WAIT Word is Oscar nominee Nicole Kidman stars, but you wouldn’t know it from the film’s press shots or trailer. Why? Because, with extensive makeup and facial prosthetics, she’s darn-near unrecognizable! Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Ed Harris provide backup star power, and this tortured-artist pic (Kidman is Virginia Woolf) feels like 2000’s Oscar surprise ”Pollock” — only bigger.
SOURCE MATERIAL Michael Cunningham’s 1998 Pulitzer-winning novel
PLOT POINTERS Three generations of women — Kidman as the late Woolf à la 1923; Moore as a disenchanted ’50s housewife; and Streep as a modern NYC poet — are connected by Woolf’s ”Mrs. Dalloway.”
BURNING QUESTION Did Paramount pay Oscar-level dollars (like Kidman’s $7 million ”Moulin Rouge” salary) for a lead actress who goes unrecognized throughout the picture?
COME FOR The estrogen
STAY FOR A healthy dose of something literary that doesn’t involve Hogwarts and Muggles