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The Invisible Woman (2013)

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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,603 users   Metascore: 75/100
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At the height of his career, Charles Dickens meets a younger woman who becomes his secret lover until his death.



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Title: The Invisible Woman (2013)

The Invisible Woman (2013) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rev. William Benham
Tom Attwood ...
Mr. Lambourne
Susanna Hislop ...
Mr. George Wharton Robinson
Tommy Curson-Smith ...
David Collings ...
Charley Dickens
Maria Ternan
Richard McCabe ...
Mr. Mark Lemon
Mr. Berger
Mr. Augustus Egg
Joseph Paxton ...
Mr. Pigott


In the 1850s, Ellen Ternan is a minimally talented actress who catches the eye of the hailed British author, Charles Dickens. Bored with his intellectually unstimulating wife, Dickens takes the educated Ellen has his mistress with the cooperation of her mother. What follows is a stormy relationship with this literary giant who provides her with a life few women of her time can enjoy. Yet, Ellen is equally revolted by Charles' emotional cruelty and determination to keep her secret. In that conflict, Ellen must judge her own role in her life and decide if the price she pays is bearable. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Tale Of Two Titties

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

21 February 2014 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Invisible Woman  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$27,136 (USA) (3 January 2014)


$1,222,863 (USA) (11 April 2014)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones, who play lovers in this movie, also worked together in Cemetery Junction (2010), in which they played father and daughter. In a 2013 interview with Jones and Fiennes on NPR, Jones said that it was "weird" and "very Freudian" to go from playing one relationship to the other, but Fiennes disagreed, saying "It's just a job. Come on." See more »


Referenced in Film 2014: Episode dated 30 January 2014 (2014) See more »


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User Reviews

So Quiet A Life
14 April 2014 | by (India) – See all my reviews

"I have lived my life in the pages of those novels. I should not have expected their author to have lived so quiet a life". This exclamation by one of the characters in 'The Invisible Woman' resonates the feelings of the audience unaware of the secret love of one of the most beloved author - Charles Dickens. His stories have inspired many a writers, playwrights and fanatics of literature. His character had those flawed human characteristics which made them real and easy to connect with. Still a secret held for the longest time by a celebrity whose charm and gentle nature would attract everyone around him, is naturally unexpected.

'The Invisible Woman' released last year is the story of the secret love affair of Charles Dickens with much younger Ellen 'Nelly' Turnan. Dickens is at the height of career when he meets this confident and intellectually mature young woman and falls for her. It is the unconventional nature of their relationship and the determination to keep it a secret which becomes the subject of Nelly's emotional revolt.

Ralph Fiennes is not just a remarkable actor in both cinema and stage but carves his own niche as a director. Not that there is a distinct style here but yet again he chose a story quite unknown to the mainstream. His directorial debut 'Coriolanus' was a rare masterpiece by Shakespeare. And this time he chose Dickens' personality to portray. Despite all his talents this film belongs to Felicity Jones. Playing Nelly with the required restraint, she carries the whole movie on her shoulders. Nelly is confident, intellectual and more mature than others her age. Her character reminds me of the independent spirit of Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice minus the fun. Jones plays her part with ease showing Nelly's flaws in talent and her emotional turmoil and yet portraying her as an attractive personality. Coming back to Fiennes donning the hat of Mr. Dickens. Even his character carries a restraint and the feelings are never revealed on his own. I would have loved to see more chemistry between the lead pair. Nevertheless the performances are excellent. Kristin Scott Thomas as Nelly's mother is convincing as a mother troubled about her daughter's future. I hated Tom Hollander in Pride & Prejudice, but now I realize it was only his genius as an actor in playing the irritating Mr. Collins convincingly. I loved his role as Wilkie Collins who is a friend to Dickens and reference to Nelly.

Even technically the film is very sound. The images carry a texture heavily filled with grain until the two protagonists get together after which it becomes a smooth and much open imagery following the emotions the lead characters. Cinematographer Rob Hardy as become one of my favorites. His work in 'Broken' and 'Red Riding' are reminders of a new age of visual styles which are brave, unconventional and experimental and constitute the new age British cinema. The costumes though got Michael O'Connor, the designer, another nomination at the Oscars blend quite well into the atmosphere and the performance to be noticed as a separate entity except for the black dress Nelly is wearing while briskly walking at the beach. There is genuinity in the period set designs. But being a character and performance driven film everything merges into one element. It is now evident that Fiennes is not very fond of music constantly playing in the background. Both his films are dry in terms of any expected uplifting of the emotions by the use of music. Maybe its his experience as a theater artist that comes to play depending on the performances of the actors alone to convey the required amounts of emotion.

Not just another period drama, 'The Invisible Woman' is a film of an unconventional relationship which remained in the shadows for a long time just like the characters of Dickens classic Great Expectations. Its a revelation to a celebrated personality. A must watch for non-readers and literature lovers alike.

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