The Invisible Woman

December 29th, 2013


The Invisible Woman

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At the height of his career, Charles Dickens meets a younger woman who becomes his secret lover until his death.

Release Year: 2013

Rating: 6.6/10 (367 voted)

Critic's Score: 80/100

Director: Ralph Fiennes

Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas

At the height of his career, Charles Dickens meets a younger woman who becomes his secret lover until his death.

Writers: Abi Morgan, Claire Tomalin

Felicity Jones - Nelly
John Kavanagh - Rev. William Benham
Tom Attwood - Mr. Lambourne
Susanna Hislop - Mary
Tom Burke - Mr. George Wharton Robinson
Tommy Curson-Smith - Geoffrey
David Collings - Governor
Michael Marcus - Charley Dickens
Kristin Scott Thomas - Mrs. Frances Ternan
Perdita Weeks - Maria Ternan
Ralph Fiennes - Charles Dickens
Richard McCabe - Mr. Mark Lemon
Gabriel Vick - Mr. Berger
Mark Dexter - Mr. Augustus Egg
Joseph Paxton - Mr. Pigott


Official Website: Official Facebook

Country: UK

Language: English

Release Date: 7 February 2014

Filming Locations: Harrow School, Harrow, Middlesex, England, UK

Technical Specs


User Review


Rating: 7/10

With The Invisible Woman being the second feature in which Ralph Fiennes tackles Charles Dickens, you may say that the thespian, already known for his love of Shakespeare, has developed a new romance with English literature.

With Fiennes at the helm, this biographical drama, based on the book by Claire Tomalin, takes a stroll into the private life of the public figure, Charles Dickens. Although The Invisible Woman positions itself at the heart of the Victorian literate, this is in fact the story of Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones); hence the title.

The bulk of this character-piece plays out as a flashback, as the narrative oscillates between the world of Dickens and the world post-Dickens. The mysterious title refers to the young Nelly, an avid-admirer of the literary colossus, as she enters into a secret affair with her idol. She spends the best part of her youth amorously involved with the writer, but given that Dickens was a lot older, it was inevitable that she would outlive her lover.

Alone with her thoughts, Nelly, dressed in mournful black, marches along the beaches of Margate like a sleepwalker in the night, tormented by the loss of her companion; she must find a way to bring that chapter of her life to a close so that she may now move on.

The picture paints Dickens as the talented and charitable man that he was, however we are also privy to a more sinister side of the wordsmith, as we learn of his malicious actions towards his wife (played by Joanna Scanlon).

The camera takes its time, as it soaks up the brilliant performances of the cast and Abi Morgan's (Shame, The Iron Lady) masterful script provides a titillating narrative, as it transports us to the Dickensian period. Ultimately, The Invisible Woman stands as a beautifully crafted piece of filmmaking, however, it somewhat pales in comparison to Fiennes' earlier, more vigorous work. Anthony Lowery


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