Movie Monday- The Children’s Hour
I’ve got quite the reputation in my family as one who selects movies based on their substance and ability to provoke thought after the credits have rolled. If you’re anything like me, and you get the hankering to watch something that’s more than just a lot of fluff, The Children’s Hour is a great way to pass 107 minutes of your life.
The movie begins with a piano recital at an up-and-coming girl’s school, run by two childhood friends who have worked hard to make thier dreams come true. Everything seems to be going well. A marriage is in the works, the school is finally in the black, and the dead-weight aunt they employed is leaving for New York. Things couldn’t be better. That is, until a trouble making little girl starts spreading rumors about the sexual relations between the two head mistresses.
Shirley MacLaine has been a well respected actress through the decades, but it seems that Audrey Hepburn is often the one who receives a bad rap as far as her acting chops go. I’ve been to blame for this myself. In fact, I’m one of those rare old-movie-buffs who doesn’t much like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But The Children’s Hour proves that Ms. Hepburn was more than just a pretty face and well-bred lady. The subtleties of her character’s evolution throughout the movie are spectacular. It’s the kind of performance you don’t mind watching again and again (bratty children’s hysterics aside).
This film could be discounted from its impact as a piece of art and instead turned into a just great lesson on the negative impact of gossip and social acceptance of certain alternative lifestyles. However, the framework of the story, symbolism throughout, and complex character development is something you don’t see much of in films from this decade. For me, I enjoyed The Children’s Hour as a substance filled quality work of art.