Nora (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Nora (2001)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This period drama is based on the real-life relationship of the great Irish novelist James Joyce and his longtime lover, Nora Barnacle. Aspiring writer James (Ewan McGregor) meets Nora (Susan Lynch) in Dublin in 1904. While she lacks James' interest in literature, she shares his frustrations about the limitations of life in Ireland, and she encourages him in both his work and in his desire to try his hand in Europe. Nora also shares James' potent sexual appetite, and James finds himself at once thrilled by her enthusiasm for lovemaking and troubled by suspicions that she may be unfaithful to him. When James decides to relocate to Trieste, Nora joins him, and they eventually have two children together, but their relationship is often stormy -- James angrily suspects that Nora is having affairs with his brother Stanislaus (Peter McDonald) and their close friend Roberto (Roberto Citran) as he struggles with his writing and battles censors over his masterwork, Ulysses. However, while they have troubles keeping their relationship together, they find that it's even harder for them to live apart from one another. Ewan McGregor served as both star and co-producer for Nora, which was backed in part by his production company, Natural Nylon Entertainment.more
Rating: R (for some strong sexuality and related dialogue)
Genre: Documentary, Drama, Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By: Pat Murphy, Gerard Stembridge
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 21, 2002
Nora Film Ltd. - Official Site

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Susan Lynch
as Nora Barnacle
Ewan McGregor
as James Joyce
Peter McDonald
as Stanislaus Joyce
Aedin Moloney
as Eva Joyce
Andrew Scott
as Michael
Pauline McLynn
as Miss Kennedy
Vinnie McCabe
as Uncle Tommy
Veronica Duffy
as Annie Barnacle
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Nora

Critic Reviews for Nora

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (8)

Lynch manages to make Nora's temperamental tempestuousness not only credible and admirable, but deeply alluring.

Full Review… | June 1, 2001
Toronto Star
Top Critic

A convincing portrait of the intersection between creative genius and crazy, all-consuming love.

May 21, 2001
Mr. Showbiz
Top Critic

A muddy tale of sex, love, obsession, jealousy, cruelty and abandonment that can keep one at a distance.

May 11, 2001
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

A gorgeous period piece with rich, vigorous portrayals of Joyce ... and Barnacle.

Full Review… | May 4, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | April 25, 2003
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 27, 2009
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Nora

James Joyce and Nora Barnacle fall in love, but societal pressures and sexual obsession complicate their relationship.
When I write the one-sentence plot summary in my reviews, I try to find the central conflict; however, finding the central conflict, what keeps this film interesting, is remarkably difficult, and I had difficulty putting my finger on what keeps these lovers apart. At times it is societal pressures about sex and sexuality, and at times the film focuses on Joyce's jealousy, his feeling that it is impossible to truly know Nora sexually. What's worse is that by the end of the film, I didn't see the central conflicts coming to any kind of resolution. What adjustments do these characters make in order to function together? What should we learn from this story?
I think the reason I enjoyed this film a little bit is the insight into Joyce's work. We see scenes that are reminiscent of "The Dead," "Araby," and Ulysses. I didn't know that Nora was the inspiration for each of these works, so I guess I learned something.
Overall, this isn't a complete film because the conflict isn't resolved and I think one needs to be intimately familiar with Joyce's writing in order to understand it.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


Boring, not the kind of movie I would have chosen to watch but I like Ewan McGregor.

Megan S

Super Reviewer

I'm giving this only two stars: One for Ewan McGregor, and one for James Joyce. Unless you are obsessed with the careers of either one, there is absolutely no reason to watch this movie. McGregor does his best to lend his shining talent to this turd. I've seen better production value on the Lifetime network or PBS. Completly boring. I might as well have listened to an Audio Book of Joyce's biography.

Sean Gillespie

Super Reviewer

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