Daldry's adaptation of Michael Cunningham's novel (itself inspired by Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway) cuts between single days in the lives of three women spanning the 20th century. In 1923, Woolf (Kidman) is climbing the walls of her Richmond home, plotting her novel and her escape. In the 1950s, suburban mom Laura (Moore) dutifully bakes for a loving husband (Reilly) and son, but is slowly choking on frustrated desires. And in the here and now, Clarissa (Streep) is devoting her energies to a party for her first love (Harris), a poet in the final stages of Aids. If these women's relationships trace an emancipatory arc, the film suggests Woolf's insights into the human condition are pertinent as ever. Bookended by suicides, it's about the transience of happiness, the dissatisfactions as well as the consolations of love, time shared and time lost. There are more complex and compelling female characters in this movie than Hollywood has mustered all year. If Philip Glass's torrid score comes on a bit strong and David Hare's incisive screenplay is sometimes just too on-the-nose, these are quibbles in the face of such a boldly realised, affecting work.