The film is carefully composed and beautifully photographed, mostly in Dublin, which, apparently, can recreate any era in its history, and its cast of Irish actors is superb. New York Times
Ten years after his groundbreaking adaptation of Ulysses, Joseph Strick adapted James Joyce s Bildungsroman about the early life of alter ego Stephen Dedalus. Whereas the earlier film presented the events of a single day, this one spans a decade, tracing Stephen s life from early 1890s childhood (against a backdrop of political upheaval) through a strict Jesuit education, growing awareness of both aesthetic and sexual matters, and his ultimate realisation as a young adult that Ireland is too hidebound and priest-ridden to allow him to flourish, a dilemma faced by countless contemporaries (including Joyce himself) as they contemplated the dawn of a new century. As before, the author s dazzling prose is well to the fore, delivered by a variety of Irish actors (Bosco Hogan, Rosaleen Linihan, T.P. McKenna, Rosaleen Linihan, Maureen Potter) and Sir John Gielgud, whose fire-and-brimstone sermon is one of the most memorable things he ever did on film.