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The Invisible Woman (2013)

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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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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Nelly (as Ms. Felicity Jones)
...
Rev. William Benham (as Mr. John Kavanagh)
Tom Attwood ...
Mr. Lambourne (as Mr. Tom Atwood)
Susanna Hislop ...
Mary (as Ms. Susanna Hislop)
...
Mr. George Wharton Robinson (as Mr. Tom Burke)
Tommy Curson-Smith ...
Geoffrey (as Mr. Tommy Curson-Smith)
...
Governor (as Mr. David Collings)
Michael Marcus ...
Charley Dickens (as Mr. Michael Marcus)
...
Mrs. Frances Ternan (as Ms. Kirstin Scott Thomas)
...
Maria Ternan (as Ms. Perdita Weeks)
...
Charles Dickens (as Mr. Ralph Fiennes)
...
Mr. Mark Lemon (as Mr. Richard McCabe)
Gabriel Vick ...
Mr. Berger (as Mr. Gabriel Vick)
...
Mr. Augustus Egg (as Mr. Mark Dexter)
Joseph Paxton ...
Mr. Pigott (as Mr. Joseph Paxton)
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Storyline

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 as 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 (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

21 February 2014 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

La mujer invisible  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$1,233,347 (USA) (9 May 2014)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

Very early in the film, Dickens introduces a member of his acting troupe as "Mr. Berger" with a 'soft' g, like a j; moments later, he refers to him as "Mr. Berger" with the g pronounced as 'hard'. There's no explanation for this discrepancy. See more »

Quotes

Charles Dickens: A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is a profound secret and mystery to every other.
Nelly: Until that secret is given to another to look after. And then perhaps two human creatures may know each other.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film 2016: Episode dated 5 February 2014 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Sam Hall
Traditional
Performed by JC Carroll
[end credits]
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User Reviews

 
Dickens the player
30 August 2014 | by (Ecuador) – See all my reviews

"Every human creature is a profound secret and mystery to every other."

In this follow up to his directorial debut, Coriolanus, Ralph Fiennes directs himself as Charles Dickens focusing on a specific period of his life rather than on a full blown biography. I am a huge fan of Dickens' work and have read many of his novels, but this film focuses on his later years after he had become a successful and respected writer. He was a very popular figure during the Victorian Age and we get glimpses of this here in The Invisible Woman as he struggles to hide his affection for a teenage stage actress he encounters named Nelly Ternan (played by Felicity Jones). Dickens is married, but he finds no fulfillment in his wife who doesn't understand his work. But since he's such a public figure, he must keep his affair a secret which is something Nelly finds hard to accept. This period piece stands out visually thanks to the beautiful costume design and setting which transports us to the Victorian Age. The Oscar nomination for achievement in costume design was well deserved although it lost out to The Great Gatsby. The performances from Felicity Jones and Ralph Fiennes were superb and the chemistry between them was strong, but the major issue with this film has to do with its slow pacing. The film is a little less than two hours long, but it feels like much more. However it's hard to resist this film due to the charm that Fiennes' Dickens evokes on the viewer. We have read his novels where he bears his soul about his troubled and difficult past (David Copperfield is my favorite work of his and it is his most autobiographical one), but I really never pictured him as this successful writer who enjoyed the spotlight and had such charisma. Its that very essence of Dickens that got me through the movie.

The Invisible Woman was adapted by Abi Morgan from Claire Tomalin's book and it focuses on Dickens' affair from Nelly's point of view as she dealt with the pain of their secret relationship despite having a privileged life. Everything about this period piece looks beautiful, but still it feels like its missing something and I quite can't figure it out yet. I can't fully grasp the mystery as to why Nelly accepted to live this life while internally she despised herself for it. The film doesn't bear her soul, but only shows signs of this externally through her strong performance. She is troubled and despite her admiration for Dickens' work we don't see that same passion in her eyes that he shares for her. The supporting performances from Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander, and Joanna Scanlan do lift the movie. Scanlan plays an important role as Dickens' wife as she comes to grasp the reality of her husband's affair. It's the poor way she's treated by Dickens that turns her off. However, Dickens is so charming that it's hard not to like him. Scott Thomas plays Nelly's mother and she is the one that convinces her to accept the life Dickens offers her. The film explores this complex relationship and it succeeds in most part thanks to the strong performances but it still fails to engage us more in their world. Just like Nelly's repressed emotions, the film at times feels repressed and doesn't quite manage to open up for the audience.


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