Perhaps Jane Fonda was simply over zealous in her need to act as a guiding light that shown through so clearly and brightly that it nearly burnt your retinas to the point you could actually smell the smoke. Perhaps it was simply bad acting. Either way, I found Jane Fonda's attempts at portraying Nora somewhat lacking in the 1973 cinematic adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's1879 A Doll's House as directed by Joseph Losey.
Honestly, I can understand fully well Fonda's intentions for accepting such a role. She innocently desired the chance to help propagate the virtues of feminism and its struggle for a woman's independence through a medium that has the potential to possibly reach millions. She just happened to have accepted the role of one of the world's timeless characters scribbled in ink by one of the world's greatest playwrights. Not only would have Ibsen turned in his grave, but he would have also spastically reared himself up within his cushion-lined casket only to violently bang his head upon the lid. Fonda failed the vision of Henrik Ibsen.
Jane Fonda as a modern woman of the twentieth-century remained a modern woman of the twentieth-century even in her role as Nora despite the fact that the script was set in the nineteenth-century--the Victorian period for that matter. Yes, during the era that Ibsen wrote the play he purposefully designed the character of Nora as initially a demeaned and oppressed housewife; however, he then thoughtfully conceived her to have grown mature ahead of her time--her independence and self-assertiveness much more subtle until blooming in full near the end of the play. The Nora as played by Fonda would have frankly been viewed as obscene and even repugnant without much consideration by Victorian theatre goers soon after the initial parting of the stage curtains.
The play, and yes even the movie, both have a great message to tell. My complaint in the movie lies mainly in how that message was told, especially through the lackluster attempts of Jane Fonda. The message of a woman's struggle for independence became didactic; and, as a result, the film lost in certain degrees the artistic value that should have enabled it to pierce even the most calloused heart.