Selfish Intentions: Analysis of Nora's Character in the Film A Doll's House

         In Patrick Garland's 1973 film version of Henrik Ibsen's 1879 A Doll's House, Nora's character, as portrayed by Claire Bloom, is most certainly an advertisement for feminist ideology, as it is in direct opposition to the somewhat generic portrayal of the inattentive, successful husband. What is interesting though, is that the ending, the portion of the film that I feel is glamorizing feminism the most, comes off as somewhat surprising when considering the course of events.

         The foremost portion of the film has much to do with Nora's detached relationship with her children, her inability to rise above the established level of infantile communication with her husband, Torvald (Anthony Hopkins), and the whole situation with the fired banker (Denholm Elliot) and his knowledge of Nora having forged a signature to get money. This entire series of events has the potential to rise to a higher occasion than the concurrence to feminism that it is used for. I was really thrown off by Nora's speech at the end of the film. Where does all that intelligent lingo come from? I did not think that it was justified by the events of the story. It is an easy out, for Nora, and for the conflict of the story, even though the action might be very convincing and potent. It is just a glaze, even though it is an elaborate, dense one.

         Nora's actions are nothing but selfish and remain unjustified. She would rather completely sever all contact with the life that she feels has been fake, than face it and put forth the effort to mold it into something different. It is not too late, as the film suggests.

Eric Pitman

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