|Index||4 reviews in total|
Very well acted version of Ibsen's play. Carries one right along with it. Actors were well-chosen for their respective parts. Cannot imagine it being better rendered than this. Of course, the story is quite an interesting one, especially with its somewhat surprise ending. Recommend highly. Can't wait to see it again myself. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be on very often. Last time I saw it was around 1993-94.
Juliet Stevenson is a fragile but determined Nora alongside Trevor
Eve's strictly moral Torvald and Patrick Malahide as the ailing Rank.
Ibsen's play is an excellent study of the collapse of a marriage and
the objectification of women, and here it is beautifully performed.
The BBC no longer do these kind of classics, but this Doll's House is extremely well done and immaculately cast, and it stands up well against the equally stagey version with Claire Bloom and Anthony Hopkins, and the more filmic version with Jane Fonda and David Warner.
Highly recommended, and can be found on the Henrik Ibsen Collection boxset.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Like so many of the British films I've seen, I've been introduced to them
friends. This one is the same and once again I was not
The only Ibsen I'd ever read was back in High School, which was eons ago, so this was a new experience for me.
The story is about a flighty woman, Nora Helmner(Juliet Stevenson), who has no real concept of responsibility and the importance of money in her society. Her husband, Thorvald(Trevor Eve) is a generous man who spoils her rotten. He doles out the money she needs like he is giving candy to a child and he enjoys the idea that he can spoil her through his hard work. In an anxious moment, Nora decides she needs to borrow 4800 Kroners from one of Thorvald's childhood friends in order to "save" Thorvald's life. When Thorvald finds out he goes into a rage and forces her to understand that she has put his integrity as a bank manager in jeopardy. In a hysterical moment, she offers to kill herself, so everyone would know it wasn't Thorvald's fault. He explains that the damage was done and killing herself wouldn't help. But at the last moment, the childhood friend forgives the debt, because his fortunes have improved. Relieved, Thorvald reveals that he must watch over his "songbird" more carefully, so that she doesn't make such mistakes again and he blames himself for not taking better care of her.
In an epiphany, Nora realizes that Thorvald sees her as his "doll wife", someone to care for and spoil, just like her father saw her as his "doll child". Nora comes to believe that she and Thorvald have been living in a "Doll's House", where she had become Thorvald's doll and likewise, their children had become hers. She realizes that she never had an opinion of her own and decides she needs to "understand" herself. In an emotional scene she explains to Thorvald that she didn't understand that she wasn't doing anything wrong by "saving" his life and must go out and discover what life is really like. Finally she tells him that she doesn't love him anymore.
This play affected me on several levels. I am a modern woman who was appalled at the way Thorvald spoiled Nora and treated her like a child, which added to her flightiness and her lack of understanding of her responsibilities. But I was more disgusted with Nora. After finally realizing at the end that she didn't know what life was really like and had to go "in search" of it, she abandoned her husband of 8 years and her 3 children. In her search for responsibility, she abandoned responsibility for her family and shoved it onto the maids of the household because she didn't feel capable of taking care of the children and that the maids knew better. That happens way to often in today's society for similar reasons.
Nora was filled with self pity and selfishness. In the end she was calm and collected as she left her husband emotionally devastated. He lived in a society where he had done everything right. Everything he did was what was expected for a man of his period, yet it wasn't enough for her.
This play could also be considered a metaphor for men and women's relationships in the modern. Many men are still confused by the desire of many women to seek out "life", especially when they are raised in rural areas where gender roles are defined.
I do recommend this movie because it is an intelligent movie and sucked me in. Juliet Stevenson was fantastic as Nora and several times I wanted to jump through the screen and slap her around. Trevor Eve was great as Thorvald. I never saw Thorvald as a bad man as was listed in the plot outline. I just saw him as a man of his times. I had a great deal of sympathy for him.
I think Juliet Stevenson's portrayal of Nora in this production is probably the finest acting I know of. The way she can turn from a frothy light giddiness to sledgehammer-like intensity in the blink of an eye is simply breathtaking. It is a fabulously detailed and incisive performance. Last time I looked it was very easy to find online (just try putting "A Doll's House Juliet Stephenson" into the search engine of your choice), and then you can judge this all for yourself. The other members of the cast are also excellent but Juliet Stevenson is simply dazzling. If you ever thought that Ibsen might be a little dry or hard to comprehend I think you are in for a really big surprise.
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