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A GENIUS AND HIS MUSE
on 11 August 2001
James Joyce (Ewan McGregor) as a young university student finds his spiritual and sexual equal and partner in life in Nora Barnacle (Susan Lynch). Although the class difference is obvious to all but the pair, they fall in love against the advice of his friends who lust after Nora. Joyce convinces Nora to join him in Italy where he has a teaching position. The two begin their lives together living beyond their means, dressing fashionably, and fighting while raising children. Nora is anything but a quiet professor's wife. She is the life force that motivates Joyce. Although one of the major literary talents of the twentieth century, Joyce as McGregor presents him is insecure, neurotic, and insanely jealous. Theirs is a volatile relationship prone to public outbursts and sexual abandon.
Susan Lynch won the best actress award at the Dublin Film Festival for her performance as the earthy muse whose presence is as much a torture as inspiration to Joyce. Ewan McGregor in his first adult leading role proves he has matured as an actor of solid talent and sensitivity beyond juvenile leads. Shot on location in Ireland and Italy, Nora is a small independent film produced by McGregor's production company, Natural Nylon, and likely to be overlooked by most audiences. However, if solid acting, adult story lines, and turn-of-the-century costume biopics are your cup of tea, this film is worthy of its purchase price. The DVD version includes interviews with principal actors and director Pat Murphy.