Movie Monday- The Children’s Hour

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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.

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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).

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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.

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11 Responses

  1. gee says:

    i really enjoy this movie. i am glad you posted about it.
    i do not like breakfast at tiffany’s either..i do enjoy her in this though!

  2. Sue says:

    Excellent movie! Haven’t seen this in years, and Audrey was wonderful in this. My all-time favorite movie with Audrey though has to be Charade. When I was younger, I did not like Breakfast at Tiffany’s either, and was appalled at the Mickey Rooney character in the film…but upon viewing it a second and third time over the years, it really grew on me. One of my favorite scenes is when they are in the variety store trying to shoplift. I loved the music and the tension building up in that scene…and how they run out at the end, unnoticed. I would recommend watching it again in a few years…you may change your mind about it.

  3. Katie says:

    I didn’t realize there was a movie! I know the play well from studying it in college – so I’ll have to check this out.
    And (blasphemy!) I don’t like Breakfast at Tiffany’s either.

  4. grace says:

    wow, i want to see this now!
    I like breakfast at tiffany’s, HOWEVER, i can’t watch it these days because i’ve become overly sensitive to it’s blatant racism. bah.

  5. jaclyn says:

    this sounds interesting for sure. breakfast at tiffany’s has never captured me like it does some. but another audrey hepburn movie that’s worth a watch – wait until dark. a suspense-thriller from ’67. have you seen it?

  6. I’ve never seen this movie but now I want to. Thanks for the great review.
    Kel @ ser?en?dip?i?ty

  7. Monique says:

    I haven’t heard of this one. Looks right up our alley. We certainly added to our cue. Great stills!

  8. Tracey says:

    Sounds like an interesting movie … I haven’t come across it before, but I must watch it. The visuals alone look quite wonderful. :)

  9. emily keen says:

    Oh I have never heard of this film:) Thank you so much for posting these little movie reviews. I always take you up on your suggestions and enjoy having Saturday afternoons to myself to watch good movies.

  10. I thought this sounded familiar…there’s a play of this story currently showing in London, starring Keira Knightley and Elizabeth Moss (of Mad Men fame). I didn’t know there was a movie, but since I cannot stand Keira Knightley, I’ll watch this instead! Speaking of plays, Anna Friel did a stonking Holly Golightly in London a couple of years ago…much more of a Sally Bowles character than Audrey’s portrayal, although I do love that film. OK, so it glosses over the prostitution issue and apparently in the book he’s gay and they do NOT hook up, but since I first saw it when I was 14 and had no idea who Truman Capote was, I thought it was terribly romantic :)

  11. kendra says:

    i don’t relaly like Breakfast at Tiffany’s either. I am so releived someone else said it! When i want to see her in something fun, i watch Charade. When i want to see her in something… darker, i watch Wait Until Dark or even Two for the Road. But i can’t wait to see this.
    I know Keira Knightly and Peggy from Mad Men are doing this play in London right now!