The Search for the Soulful

Thomas Moore, author of 'Care of the Soul,' talks about life and death in 'The Hours'

Thomas MooreWith the publication of his book "Care of the Soul" in 1993, Thomas Moore became a household name synonymous with an affirming approach to life. A former Roman Catholic Servite monk, Moore is a psychotherapist, a speaker and writer who invites us to recognize, accept and nurture our human nature--our souls.

How to do so is a question that haunts the characters of "The Hours." the film made from the book by Michael Cunningham and now nominated for Best Picture. In this modern examination of Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway," two modern women and Woolf herself try to transcend the mundane while grappling with suicidal despair. We discussed the movie with Moore as the final segment of this week's Oscar series.

How did you like the movie?

I liked it very much. I haven't enjoyed a film as much since "Eyes Wide Shut." I especially enjoyed the performances, especially that of Nicole Kidman. I could have watched her as Virginia Woolf for hours. I'm not a fan of Philip Glass's music, and I found the music distracting. I thought it dominated the action and didn't enhance it.


Meryl Streep's character says at one point, "Why is everything wrong?" Did the movie explain well what is wrong?

Fortunately, it doesn't give simplistic explanations from the character's personal past. Instead, it shows how any of us can be deeply shaken by mysterious developments, how these disturbances lead to thoughts and even acts of suicide, and how other people are affected and involved.

These issues are often obscured in more amateur attempts to interpret anxiety. As they ar portrayed in this film, these three lives help us meditate on anxiety and deep disturbance as a human experience, beyond time and place. This is how I like to consider the troubles we get into--as archetypal, basically human conundrums that will never be fully explained and only occasionally "cured."

The closest we get to naming what's wrong is when Ed Harris suggests Meryl Streep needs busyness-caring for him included--to "have a life." It's a question of meaning, to which the answer seems to be death.

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