The Hours chronicles a day in the life of three very different individuals, all of whom share the feeling that they have been living their lives for someone else. Virginia Woolf lives in a suburb of London in the 1920s as she struggles to begin writing her first great novel, Mrs. Dalloway, while also attempting to overcome the mental illness that threatens to engulf her. Laura Brown, a young wife and mother in post-World War II Los Angeles, is reading Mrs. Dalloway, and is so deeply affected by it that she begins to question the life she has chosen for herself. Finally, Clarissa Vaughan is a modern-day Mrs. Dalloway in contemporary New York, planning a party for her friend and former lover who is slowly losing his fight with AIDS. Three women, separated by a span of nearly 80 years, find themselves weathering similar crises, all linked by a single work of literature.