This review article was prompted by a remarkable growth in the number of scientific publications dealing with the use of nanocellulose (especially nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC), cellulose nanocrystals (CNC), and bacterial cellulose (BC)) to enhance the barrier properties and other performance attributes of new generations of packaging products. Recent research has confirmed and extended what is known about oxygen barrier and water vapor transmission performance, strength properties, and the susceptibility of nanocellulose-based films and coatings to the presence of humidity or moisture. Recent research also points to various promising strategies to prepare ecologically-friendly packaging materials, taking advantage of nanocellulose-based layers, to compete in an arena that has long been dominated by synthetic plastics. Some promising approaches entail usage of multiple layers of different materials or additives such as waxes, high-aspect ratio nano-clays, and surface-active compounds in addition to the nanocellulose material. While various high-end applications may be achieved by chemical derivatization or grafting of the nanocellulose, the current trends in research suggest that high-volume implementation will likely incorporate water-based formulations, which may include water-based dispersions or emulsions, depending on the end-uses.