The Invisible Woman
Winter 2014 Features series
Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 4:00pm
Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 7:00pm
Directed by Ralph Fiennes
Screenplay by Abi Morgan
Based on the book by Claire Tomalin
Starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Felicity Jones, and Ralph Fiennes
Rated NR ·
The Invisible Woman
Ralph Fiennes (The Reader, In Bruges, The English Patient) directs and stars alongside Felicity Jones (Chéri, Like Crazy) in this passionate period drama about the secret love affair of one of the greatest figures in literary history.
In 1857, actress Nelly Ternan was performing in London’s Haymarket Theatre when she was first spotted by Charles Dickens. Ternan was 17, while Dickens was 45 and had been married some 20 years. The two began an affair, which was kept a secret from the general public for the duration of their lives. Theirs has since become one of the great love stories in literary history, as alluring for the speculation it inspires as for the details on record as fact.
Based on Claire Tomalin’s biography of the same name, The Invisible Woman is a rapturous chronicle of Ternan and Dickens’ tempestuous relationship, which prompted the end of Dickens’ marriage, survived a train crash, inspired characters and scenarios in some of the author’s most beloved novels and continued until his death in 1870.
Jones’ performance as Ternan brims with passion and intelligence—the latter quality being one of the things that drew Dickens to Ternan in the first place. Dickens himself is embodied by Fiennes as a complicated artist torn between his desires and ideals and his need to uphold tradition and avoid scandal. Enveloped in opulent period detail, The Invisible Woman brings us closer to this giant of 19th-century prose—and to the woman who sustained his lust for life in his final years.
“A revelatory performance by Felicity Jones is the chief but hardly only virtue of Ralph Fiennes’ impressively crafted Dickens tale. So tastefully mounted and brilliantly acted that it wears down even the corset-phobic’s innate resistance to such things. Fiennes has made a movie set largely in the elegantly appointed drawing rooms and country homes of the British upper crust, but the movie itself is anything but stuffy and decorous.” (Scott Foundas, Variety)
“A career high point for Ralph Fiennes as both an actor and director, this unfussy and emotionally penetrating work also provides lead actress Felicity Jones with the prime role in which she abundantly fulfills the promise suggested in some of her earlier small films.” (Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter)