Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes
Felicity Jones
Felicity Jones


DIRECTOR: Ralph Fiennes

CAST: Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander, Joanna Scanlan,Tom Burke

Running time : 1 hour |52 minutes

Age restriction: 13S

RATING: ****

PERHAPS the title captures it best. That’s exactly what this tale is about. It’s set a few centuries back and yet, for many, this type of scenario hasn’t changed.

That keeps niggling at you as you watch this gentle unfolding of author Charles Dickens’ life when he loses his heart to a much younger woman and very publicly dismisses his wife who bore him 10 children.

That’s a tough one to swallow!

And it becomes tougher in this modern age to like this talented writer who still holds the world enthralled with his many novels.

What is intriguing is the story.

Directed by and starring the magnificent Ralph Fiennes, it is based on an adaptation of Claire Tomalin’s best-selling account of the relationship between Charles Dickens and his much younger lover. And apparently much of the book is based on speculation because so intent was Dickens that his loving public should remain just that, he even burnt his letters.

His reputation was holier-than-thou to the point of excluding the feelings of those closest to him, whose lives were dramatically affected.

But who else in his world could possibly have been at the centre of any universe? In his world (and time), the planets all faced his way and every step he took was meant to be and blessed all round.

Fiennes is almost painstaking in the way he tells the story.

There’s a gentleness about the telling that seems to fit the times, if not the emotional turbulence.

The film has art house stamped all over it, both in the pace and the presentation, which doesn’t mean audiences should steer clear, it’s simply one to choose carefully.

If Dickens – or any author for that matter – is someone you would read, if you want to know more about his life, which might also help you understand his writing with more insight, this film will draw you in.

But if escape is on your mind, nothing about The Invisible Woman will grab your attention.

Fiennes is a remarkable actor and again in this one he captures the mien of what seems to be quite a miserly personality even if some of the bonhomie is underlined for his public. Capturing his heart is the too-young Nelly who seems unperturbed by his age or his wife who in her eyes was probably there to mother the Dickens offspring.

Jones is a rare find. She has a luminescent quality that’s quite extraordinary and Fiennes showcases that from the first sighting we have of what is clearly not an invisible woman as she marches on a windswept beach, clearly in a hurry to reach her destination.

It’s as eye-catching as that haunting scene from atop a cliff in the much-acclaimed The Piano a few decades ago.These are images that stay in your head because of the visual impact yet captures something of the film as well.

The actor’s first directorial diversion, Coriolanus was much more explosive but don’t expect any fireworks from this one.

It is the measured pace that perhaps catches you unawares yet he wants you lingering on the things that aren’t said rather than those that are.

If you liked Hyde Park on the Hudson or Bright Star you will like this.