The sci-fi thriller The Hours was filmed by American Alexis Jacknow, who acted as a screenwriter and director in it. This is her debut feature film, based on the short film of the same name released in 2020. The film raises the topic of reproductive violence. The basis of the scenario is the actual idea that the impossibility of meeting the expectations of other people can lead to irreparable consequences.
The main character of the film, Ella Patel, played by Dianna Agron, is beautiful, successful, and happy in her personal life. However, meeting with her peers, she feels, to put it mildly, uncomfortable. The fact is that 37-year-old Ella, a talented designer, a sexy woman who has enough free time to live for her own pleasure, has no children. From her friends, she constantly hears reproaches that her family cannot be considered complete due to the lack of offspring. But for Ella herself, the biological clock, which should remind her of maternal duty, is treacherously silent. She does not think about children, which, according to her peers, are the best thing that can happen to a woman. Motherhood generally considers unacceptable for themselves.
Unable to withstand the pressure of her friends, father and husband, Ella comes to an appointment at a closed medical institution, which is engaged in experiments in the field of “repairing” the biological clock of the representatives of the beautiful half of humanity.
Dr. Elizabeth Simmons suggested that the woman be treated with hormones and an implant. She first prescribed her pills. Then, after taking a Rorschach test, assuming that for Ella, the clock is a symbol of fear about the end of the bloodline, the doctor decided to continue treatment in the sensory deprivation chamber. However, this stage only leads to a deterioration in Ella’s condition, terrible visions, and loss of consciousness. But the doctor considered that a strong reaction to such treatment is a good sign. She convinced the woman of the need to undergo the last procedure – the installation of an implant.
After that, Ella developed negative side effects in the form of hallucinations, visions, loss of color vision, and the obsessive ticking of a grandfather clock. This was reflected in her work as a designer. She “decorated” the children’s room with horrible drawings of a tall woman and other objects of her own hallucinations, and nailed pieces of jagged wood to the wall.
When she came to visit her father, who had broken his arm, the woman heard the ticking of the grandfather clock, which was getting louder. Ella happily began to destroy them, taking them to pieces. Even her father’s persistent protests do not stop her.
The husband found his wife with cut hands in a state of shock. Ella explained to him what had happened. Aiden comforted her, washed her wounds and heard the long-awaited words about the readiness for the birth of a child. The couple began intercourse, but immediately stopped it, because the implant cut the man’s genitals. Ella, trying to help her husband, saw the logo of the medical institution that brought her so much suffering. Aiden admitted to his wife that he had agreed to continue the study.
Ella’s rage knew no bounds. She aggravated her husband’s injury and went to Dr. Simmons, demanding that her implant be removed. After the refusal, the woman made an attempt to remove the structure herself with the help of pliers. Dr. Simmons couldn’t stop her. Ella ripped the implant out of her body and was able to see colors again.
This was followed by her escape from the police in a car that stopped at the very edge of the cliff. Aiden, who called his wife at that time, said that she tore apart not the watch, but her own father. Despair overwhelmed the woman, and she jumped off the cliff.
At the end of the film, the audience sees the uninjured protagonist lying at the water’s edge and watching how an outlandish creature resembling a fish crawls out onto the shore.
In the course of the film, the audience watches the destruction of an already established personality due to the unceremonious intervention of people and their desire to enclose someone else’s life in a certain framework of certain patterns. It turns out that people with other priorities are difficult to accept.
The scenario action, demonstrating consistent self-destruction, gradually builds up a depressive atmosphere, increases the degree of misunderstanding of what is happening. Even the finale of The Hours seems to remain open, forcing the viewers to think for themselves the meaning of what is happening on the screen.
The film was positioned as an acute social thriller and body horror. Indeed, there are episodes related to these genres, especially if you pay attention to the hallucinogenic visions of the main character, who is undergoing treatment in an experimental clinic. In reality, The Hours turned out to be a film in which a genuine mixture of genres of social drama reigns, a psychological thriller with the inclusion of elements of body horror. Such an organic genre connection makes it an excellent example that helps to understand the main meaning of a film work: the persistent desire of outside influence on a formed personality leads to its destruction. This directly relates to the acute problem of reproductive violence in the modern world.