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NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by mli0922 who says... "This will probably be one of the most confusing spoilers ever!! The movie continuously cuts between Kidman, Moore and Streep. It's very difficult to describe this movie in exact order. It's actually impossible to do it. But try to read this. It's a great movie."
The movie begins with Nicole Kidman as Virginia Wolf writing a letter to her husband, Leonard.
In the letter, she describes how sorry she is and all her happiness through out her life has been given to her by Leonard. As the letter is narrated by Virginia, we see her walking out of her house and to what's possibly a lake or a river shore. At the shore, she picks up a huge rock and puts in her her pocket. Leonard gets home, sees the letter Virginia has left her and chases after her, but he's too late. Virginia Woolf drowns and the title appears.
The day begins with Virginia (Kidman), Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), and Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) all wake up simultaneously. Virginia is struggling to kill off the heroine Clarissa Dalloway in her book Mrs. Dalloway, Laura, a pregnant mom, has lost herself reading Mrs. Dalloway, and Clarissa is trying to plan a party. As Virginia writes:" Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself," Laura is simultaneously reading that sentence and Clarissa is indeed buying the flowers herself planning a party for her friend and her former lover, Richard (Ed Harris), a poet and who is dying of AIDS.
Clarissa walks into the flower shop, comments on how beautiful they are. The flower shop lady tells her that she has read Richard's book and that she's suprised that Richard has included Clarissa in the novel. The flower lady tells Clarissa that the book is difficult to read. Clarissa leaves the shop and visits Richard. We see Richard is a man almost drained of energy and life. While visiting Richard, Clarissa reminds him again and again about the party. In return, Richard tells that the only reason he's still alive is to keep Clarissa happy; and Richard continuously calls her Mrs. Dalloway. Clarissa unhappily leaves Richard's because she feels that he's too much and that he doesn't even care about the party she's throwing him.
Laura walks out of her bedroom and kisses her husdand (John C. Reilly) off for work-- it's his birthday.
After he leaves, she begins to bake a birthday cake with her son for her husband. She's too involved in the book. She feels as if she is the main character in Virginia's book, drowned in unhappiness. Her 6 years old son tells her how to bake a cake, and she just looks so damn bored of her life.
Virginia walks down the stairs, has an argument with her husband Leonard about eating lunch. Later, she accidentally discovers the servants talking trash about her behind her back. She walks in the kitchen, confronts the servant, and sends her to London to buy ginger despite the servant reminding Virginia that her sister is arriving at 4 PM and there isn't time. But Virginia tells the servant that if she leaves now, she'll be back by 3.
Clarissa walks back to her apartment and sit. Her girlfriend (Allison Janney) comes back and asks her if she's all right, she says she is but she's not.
She begins to prepare for her party when Richard's ex-boyfriend Louis (Jeff Daniels) shows up. As Clarissa talks with Louis, Clarissa has a break down. She cries and tells Richard that when she's around Richard she feels trivial. Richard makes her and her party trivial. Before Louis leaves, he tells Clarissa that when he left Richard he went on a cross country train in Europe. And that day was the first day he felt free.
After the cake is made, Laura realizes that it's not a cake at all and throws it in the garbage. Her neighbor (don't remember the name, but it played by Toni Collet) comes over and tells her that she has to go to the hospital because she has a growth in her uterous. But before she does it, she tells Laura how happy she is, how much friends she has, and everyone knows how to make a cake. However, as she begins to break down about going to the hospital, Laura hugs her, and suddenly shares a deep kiss with her. Both the neighbor and Laura are shocked by the kiss. But as Laura asks the neighbor why she didn't mind, the neighbor simply said, "mind what?"
Clarissa's daughter (Claire Danes) comes running back home to help her mom with her party. When she got home, she found out her mom had been crying. As they began to talk, Clarissa tells her daughter, "one morning, I woke up, I was happy, because I sensed such a sense of possiblity. But now looking back on it, I wasn't happy because of the possibility of finding happiness, it was because I had found happiness at that moment."
Virginia's sister arrives early at her house. As they began talking, Virginia asked her sister why she doesn't invite her to London anymore. Her sister made up an explanaition but we later discovers that it's because Virginia first got sick (went crazy) in London. She heard voices and had blackouts and had bad temper. Virginia's sister's children comes running along bring an almost dead bird with them. They decide that she should make a grave for it. Back home, Virginia is having tea with her sister and her family. While Virginia's sister is telling Virginia a story, her sister realizes that Virginia is not listening. Her daughter walks towards Virginia and asks her what she's thinking, Virginia tells her that she has decided not to kill the heroine in her book, instead, she's going to kill the poet. Just before her sister leaves, Virginia asks her sister if she is proud of her, and then gives her long deep kiss on the mouth.
After the kiss, Laura completely loses it. Her son saw her kiss with the neighbor, and is obviously shocked. Laura tells her son that they'll bake a new cake for daddy and then go out. Secretly, Laura has decided to suicide. After the new cake is baked, Laura drops her son off at the babysitter. Her son cried for her and yelled for her to come back, but Laura walks away. She goes to a hotel and gets a room. In her room, she takes out the pills and Mrs. Dalloway. She continues to read. She lays on the bed touches the baby in her wound. The movie flashes back to Virginia sitting on her chair, and then back to Laura Brown as Laura dreams being drowned in her room, and then back to Virginia as she suddenly says "no!" (she has decided not to kill Mrs. Dalloway, and the scene flashes back to Laura in the hotel room, Laura wakes up from her dream and decided not to kill herself. She drives back to pick up her son. On their way back, her son tells her that he loves her, and Laura assures her son that he is her guy.
Clarissa chases to Richard's apartment to see if he's ready for the party, but she discovers that he has turned the entire apartment upside down trying to open a window. Richard yells at Clarissa and tells her to stay away. He tells Clarissa that he's only alive because of her and that it's not really living. And he then says, "goodbye Mrs. Dalloway" and jumps out of the window.
Virginia sneaks out her house to the train station. When her husband discovers, he chases after her. At the train station, Virginia tells Leonard that it's time to go back to London. He gets mad and asks if she had forgotten that it's at London where she bacame sick. Virginia tells Leonard that she is dying in Richmond, she is dying because she is so depressed and bored. She says that it's every human's right to live a full and happy life. Leonard finally agreed that they will go back to London
When her husband came home at night, Laura celebrated his birthday with their son.
At night, Laura sits in the bathroom while her husband asks if she's going to come to bed. She says yes while trying to fight off the tears. She breaks down in the bathroom, but her husband doesn't find out.
Clarissa is with her daughter and girlfriend as they throw all the food they had prepared into the garbage. There is a knock on the door, Clarissa goes to the door and finds Richard's mother. We see that Richard's mother is Laura Brown (the make up done on Julianne Moore is fantastic). Clarissa talks with Laura. Laura tells that she abandoned her family immediately after Richard's sister was born. She got on a bus and went to Canada. She says it's the worst thing to do as a mother, but she had no other choice. She says people ask her if she regrets her decision or not, but she says "how can I regret when I didn't leave anything behind?" We again discover how depressed she is and how much she hated the life she's trapped in. She stays with Clarissa for the night. Clarissa goes into her bedroom, her girlfriend (Janney) walks into the room, takes off her jacket, and kisses Clarissa deeply on the mouth as this long day ends.
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