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In 1904, in Dublin, James Joyce chats up Nora Barnacle, a hotel maid recently come from Galway. She enchants him with her frank, direct and uninhibited manner, and before long, he's convinced her to come with him to Trieste, where he has a job with Berlitz. Over time, Nora pulls him through phobias, tolerates his drinking, takes in his brother Stan, and bests Joyce at 'the writin' game' to bring him back to Italy from Dublin where he's gone to open a cinema. But his sexual jealousy threatens the relationship and sends her back to Galway with the children. Is there any way to tame Jim's green-eyed monster? And, will the lad ever get his stories published? Written by
Must be seen more than once to be fully appreciated.
I was also most fortunate to attend the screening on Aug. 23 in Sydney. Ewan's words at the end of the film really illuminated the motives and the intense belief shown by the director Pat Murphy and the lead actors for this lovingly crafted film.
At first, the tale seems simple enough. Two people are in love. Love, however, has a habit of not coming into people's lives in a logical fashion. Hence, the literary genius whose muse is a country girl turned chambermaid. This situation prompts questions/doubts at many levels - for the audience, the friends and family of Joyce and Nora, and the lovers themselves.
This is why I feel it is necessary to view the film more than once. The understanding of this love requires thought. It is an hypnotic story, at times confronting as the different modes of realisation, elation, torment and rejection of love are lived through by the duo as they flow in and out of synch. with one another.
It should be pointed out that the film's title, 'Nora' should be accepted as a signpost that this film does NOT focus on Joyce. It is the significance to Nora of this union and the effect of her existence upon Joyce which is the true focus.
I highly recommend this film as a most satisfying and very beautifully told study of an all encompassing real life love affair.
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