The Invisible Woman (2013)
Critic Consensus: Its deliberate pace will frustrate some viewers, but for fans of handsomely mounted period drama, The Invisible Woman offers visual as well as emotional cinematic nourishment.
Nelly (Felicity Jones), a happily-married mother and schoolteacher, is haunted by her past. Her memories, provoked by remorse and guilt, take us back in time to follow the story of her relationship with Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) with whom she discovered an exciting but fragile complicity. Dickens - famous, controlling and emotionally isolated within his success - falls for Nelly, who comes from a family of actors. The theatre is a vital arena for Dickens - a brilliant amateur actor - a man more emotionally coherent on the page or on stage, than in life. As Nelly becomes the focus of Dickens' passion and his muse, for both of them secrecy is the price, and for Nelly a life of "invisibility".(c) Sony Classics … More
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as Charles Dickens
as Mrs. Ternan
as Wilkie Collins
as Charley Dickens
as Catherine Dickens
as Maria Ternan
as Mr. George Wharton
as Reverend Benham
as Fanny Ternan
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Critic Reviews for The Invisible Woman
Far more attentive to visual storytelling than most actors who step behind the camera, Fiennes conveys shifting dynamics through his characters' positions within the frame.
It's unhurried yet confident, familiar yet provocative. With fine cinematography by Robert Hardy (Blitz), most 'Expectations' will, indeed, be met.
The performances are first-rate -- Fiennes and Jones are stellar, as are Kristin Scott Thomas as Nelly's mother and Tom Hollander as playwright Collins -- and the score and period details are sumptuous. But the film still drags.
The Invisible Woman is a beautiful picture with strong performances, but made unnecessarily convoluted.
The Invisible Woman is so subtle and secretive that it sets a record as the most low-keyed of its usually feverish genre.
Audience Reviews for The Invisible Woman
The costume design and art direction are outstanding, though the usually reduced depth of field stands a bit in the way, and in its first half the story develops well the characters' mutual affinity but later sinks with Nelly's contrived, unconvincing feelings of being left aside by Dickens.
Fiennes does well in his directorial debut, a look at early media sensation Charles Dickens and his choice to have an affair with a much younger woman in a time when such activity was frowned on and despite his very large family. The times are convincingly reconstructed but somehow the connection is muted. He wants her for the sex, and she wants security (same as it ever was) and so it was a chore caring about either of the leads, despite their being well played.
The Invisible Woman details a specific period of a particular time. The 13 year relationship between Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens is not just a tale of love but of pain and regret as well. Occasionally the focus on this exclusive detail of the author's life doesn't always sustain the narrative. But more often than not, the production captures an era when traditional moral attitudes were held dear. Outwardly, Dickens was the passionate defender of home and family. But secretly his heart belonged to another . Even after separating from his wife, he continued to keep his association with Nelly a secret for fear of damaging her reputation. There were rumors, but he consistently maintained in public that Nelly was nothing less than a chaste woman. This endured for the rest of his life until 1870 when he died. These conventions seem archaic to modern audiences, but those social mores made this couple's guarded behavior necessary. Breaking implied codes of decency would condemn a woman's standing in the community. The threat forced people at least to maintain the appearance of adhering to accepted societal customs. I can understand why someone wouldn't appreciate the film's deliberate pace but that is precisely what I loved about it.
The Invisible Woman Quotes
|Reverend Benham:||I have lived my life in the pages of those novels.|
|Mrs. Ternan:||I have been married, and it can be the loneliest stae.|
|Wilkie Collins:||He is a good man trying to be a good life.|
|Charles Dickens:||...the admirers, those who wish you to be more than you possibly could.|
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