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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.
All Critics (152)
| Top Critics (45)
| Fresh (114)
| Rotten (38)
Felicity Jones gives a strong depiction of repressed emotion. Up against Fiennes' Dickens -- all bonhomie, energy, mercurial self-consciousness -- she's a melancholy figure.
This is an engrossing drama, with excellent performances and tremendous design by Maria Djurkovic.
The sheer warmth and liveliness of Fiennes's Dickens means he's impossible not to like.
Fiennes and screenwriter Abi Morgan adapt Claire Tomalin's book with delicate grace, presenting love as blessing, curse and, perhaps, inevitable force.
Why did this bright, vivacious, intellectually engaged girl willingly lock herself up in a wealthy man's seraglio? Put bluntly, what did she get out of it? In the end, "The Invisible Woman" remains a mystery.
It's wonderfully cast ... and beautifully designed; a quiet pleasure.
Fine performances from Fiennes, Jones et al, some beautiful visuals and several excellent scenes keep The Invisible Woman interesting and watchable.
The Invisible Woman is a quietly compelling chronicle of an uneven but binding relationship.
Fiennes has crafted one of the more original heritage movies of recent years.
Fiennes ... [is] a hammy, unconvincing Dickens, and his scenes with Jones lack spark.
Fiennes' sophomore directorial outing remains little more than Dickens fetishism.
A dreary disappointment. Were I invisible, [Ralph Fiennes] might be on the receiving end of a few pranks for taking two hours of my life.
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'. Quietly captivating on many levels, no more so than Felicity Jones' face. The closeups are Fiennes' best choice.
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