Strong Characters; Well-Portrayed; Facsinating Tale
Em | Lawrence, KS United States | 11/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree that one's appreciation of this film does depend on what is known of James Joyce's life and literary accomplishments. But providing that foundation was never the intent of the filmmakers to begin with. The film assumes one has a familiarity with James Joyce's work. To someone just watching it b/c of a teenage-type idol worship of Ewan McGregor, it would be like watching 'Shakespeare in Love' without having heard of 'Romeo and Juliet.
But even without a background knowledge of Joyce's work, there are several facets of the film which undeniably stand on their own.
Firstly, the sexual chemistry between the two main characters is undeniable. I found Susan Lynch's performance as Nora to be a bit `stand-offish and unapproachable' at times, which may leave the viewer wondering what attracted Jim to her in the first place. McGregor, however, very successfully portrays Joyce's intense love, lust, fear, and jealousy, (which almost had me sympathizing with his sense of betrayal when he needlessly suspected his wife to be unfaithful) and still convey total devotion, inspiration, and submission. (This makes me almost wonder if McGregor's `sex-symbol' status is leading him to even make choices of superficial fluff like `The Island'.)
And while women will (and do) inevitably find themselves attracted to the actor, I cannot deny that it is partly because he just puts it all out there and plays well-written roles like this so well. One cannot deny the beauty of this performance.
Secondly, the film itself is very simply yet beautifully shot from the dark streets of Dublin, to the bright and beautiful Italian villas, the simplicity of the breathtaking landscapes and their reflection of the characters' moods and dispositions, tells its own story.
And I do admit that one's appreciation is tempered by lack of background knowledge of Joyce and his work. ' So I do encourage viewers to read up on James Joyce and maybe, God forbid, pick up `Ulysses' or a collection of his poetry. While one can appreciate the acting, writing, and cinematography, of the film independent of any background knowledge, a true understanding of James Joyce and the pedestal upon which he has places his `awe-inspiring' Nora can only truly be realized if one has a foundation to start from."
Only watched it for Ewan
Ima Writer | 07/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I rented Nora from the video store, I was pleasantly suprised to find the first film I'd ever seen about James Joyce. If you like literature- such books as The Unbearable Lightness of Being, you would adore James Joyce's work. Nora, like the movie version of T.U.L.O.B lost some literary beauty (as all books-turned-movies do), but not so much that I lost total interest. I give it an A minus!"
An Enjoyable Romantic Film
M. E. Wood | Canada | 12/17/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Nora is about the woman and often inspiration in James Joyce's life. Ewan McGregor plays James Joyce and Susan Lynch plays Nora Barnacle. While the movie is titled after her it basically begins and ends with Joyce after a brief reflection of her being beaten by her Uncle and sent off to a nunnery after sneaking out with a local boy in Galway. The real story begins in 1904 when she moves away to work at a hotel as a servant. Here she meets Joyce who is instantly taken with her. On their first outing she introduces him to the intricacies of her hand which instantly links him to her forever but constantly brings around bouts of jealous and doubt from Joyce. Their relationship is frowned upon by everyone because she is poor and he is rich and they aren't married. The turmoil of their relationship is entwined with the turmoil of his attempts to write (and get published) the collection of short stories, Dubliners; specifically the Dead which he draws from Nora's past experience. The movie is beautifully shot and the accompanying music inviting. I don't recall any nudity but there is explicit dialogue and suggestiveness. I found the Irish accents difficult to decipher at the beginning and occasionally throughout but overall an enjoyable romantic film."