The Wrong Doll

     The 1973 film A Doll's House, directed by Joseph Losey, is an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play A Doll's House. The film stars Jane Fonda as the leading character, Nora Helmer. Her performance in this film could be the reason why Jane Fonda is best known for her work in exercise videos.

     Ibsen's play was opened and immediately criticized because of the play's final scene portraying Nora leaving her husband Torvald--a action not frequently done in that time period. Apparently the feminist Fonda jumped at the chance to express her views by recreating the role of Nora in the film version since the women's movement was on such a large scale at the time of the filming. It is nice that Fonda could use the film as a vessel for her beliefs, but directors and producers are able to do that as well. In this case, Fonda could have done her duty more effectively from behind the camera.

     The play A Doll's House gives the impression that Nora is a twittering, happy soul that practically floats from scene to scene. At the risk of sounding stereotypical, a small-boned, petite, lightly colored lady in her early twenties would best fit Nora's ambiance. Suffice to say that a figurine of a woman would not be visually capable of achieving the stature that Nora does in the final scene. Stranger metamorphoses have happened, however, such as the evolution of Catherine Sloper in The Heiress. The problem resulting in Fonda's portrayal of Nora is that Fonda does not have a vulnerable bone in her body! It is of no consequence when her Nora leaves Torvald (David Warner) because she is so overpowering from the beginning.

     Fonda's efforts to promote the well-being of women were earnest and, in roundabout ways, appreciated. However, in cases such as these, the actress must fit her role as the punishment must fit the crime.

Rachel Dixon

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