Negative Feminist Message

         The 1973 movie Doll’s House, directed by Patrick Garland, is based on the 1879 play by Henrik Ibsen. The play attempts to promote Nora’s (Claire Bloom) character as a strong, independent woman. Sadly, in the film makers’ effort to encourage the feminist movement, the film ends up relaying a negative message about the lead female’s decisions making ability.

         Nora is the money-hungry wife of a banker husband, Torvald (Anthony Hopkins). He provides her with money, which is a common problematic theme throughout the film. Nora is depicted as smart; however, she dumbs herself down when talking to her husband and constantly showers him with pitiable baby talk. In the end of the film Torvald discovers that Nora has borrowed money, while forging her dying father’s signature, from Krogstad (Denholm Elliot), a former colleague of his. He is angered but calms down when he discovers that Nora has been granted a pardon by Krogstad for the price of the borrowed sum. However, she decides she must leave her husband and children and move back home so that she can discover herself.

         Something that I find extremely problematic with the ending of the film is the actions Nora takes when she gets an “easy out.” She uses the argument with her husband as an excuse to leave her family and responsibilities for someone else, herself. I cannot figure out how this promotes any kind of positive feminist views. If Torvald were to leave Nora in the story, and especially if he were to abandon his duty as a father to his children, feminists would target him as a terrible character. It seems strange that these same critics would applaud it when a woman character does this exact same thing.

         There is an obvious problem in today’s society with people not taking responsibility for their actions. If the idea behind feminism in the movie were to advance it, then why would one want to give unjust credit to Nora for doing something seen as unacceptable by a man? In order for a movement to continue in a positive nature, it must stress the idea of equality for both sides.

         Another idea I did not like was the distaste Nora suddenly shows her husband in the movie. She does not communicate with him throughout the entire movie except to borrow money from him or give him cute little nicknames. Nor does she ever do anything to better herself in the movie. She depends on Torvald; and in the end she does not even appreciate that, while she was a weak woman, he still loved her and could perhaps love her just as much as a strong woman. I did not mind so much her treatment toward her husband as I did her leaving her children behind, something that I think proves that the purpose of the film makers missed its mark.

Jessica Heacock

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