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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.

Director:

Ralph Fiennes

Writers:

Abi Morgan, Claire Tomalin (book)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Taglines:

Charles Dickens' greatest story was the one he could never tell.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

21 February 2014 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A titokzatos szerető See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,136, 3 January 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,234,254

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,982,449
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

[first lines]
Mr. George Wharton Robinson: Our boys' curriculum is very wide. They perform a short play at the end of every term. Theater's an abiding interest of my wife... Ah, Mary, tea if you please.
Mary: [arriving late] Yes, sir.
Mr. George Wharton Robinson: Through the open door... Nelly, where were you? Mr. Benham has been here since 3:00.
Nelly: I'm so sorry. Mr. Lambourne has been organizing the boys best he can.
Mary: I lost all sense of time...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The full cast list (in order of appearance) is presented in the style of a Dickens era theatre programme, with contemporary font and the performers' names preceded by "Mr." or "Ms." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film '72: Episode dated 30 January 2014 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Sam Hall
Traditional
Performed by JC Carroll
[end credits]
See more »

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User Reviews

The Fatal Attraction of Charles Dickens.
11 February 2014 | by guchriscSee all my reviews

I did not plan to see this film, feeling that seeing 'The Invisible Woman' did not offer me anything unexpected, however a quirk of fate meant that I was fated to see it. This is rather appropriate, since fate seems to play an important part in this film.

Film opens on a beach. A woman is striding along it with a most purposeful gait. However she has rather a distracted manner about her. As the film develops, through long flash-back scenes, we learn about her earlier life.

The woman, really no more than a slip of a girl, is Nelly, played by Felicity Jones. Nelly is an actress, part of an acting family. A play is the device which causes Nelly to meet the famous writer Charles Dickens, played by actor Ralph Feinnes.

This film is a true story of how their meeting changed their lives. In style it reminded me of 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' (1981). Like that film, this one too jumps backwards and forwards in time. However, unlike 'TFLW', this film is not a film within a film. Although, having said that, the play where they met, does set the tone for the film. This is of course a story of fatal attraction, however there are no bunny-boilers in this film. Here rather, the protagonists, play out to the full, the hand dealt by destiny.

The film is set in the Victorian era. This was a time of high moral standards that restricted freedom in social behaviour. It was also a period of much (secret) hypocrisy. All this is captured well in the film. Captured too, is the keen eye of Charles Dickens, which made him justly famous. This is shown well in a key scene.

Charles Dickens was very famous, and his celebrity-status has an almost modern-day feel to it. He is a larger-than-life character, the life-and-soul of the party, a real party animal. Other actors could have played the role, the excellent Simon Callow has in the past, however one year on from his title-role in 'Lincoln', once again Ralph Feinnes becomes the character he is playing. Not for one moment do you doubt that you are seeing Charles Dickens in this film.

Wilkie Collins, a friend of Dickens, is played by Tom Hollander. This supporting role is well played by this versatile actor. Last year, he impressed this reviewer, with his two contrasting roles in 'About Time' and 'Byzantium'.

While the men in this film are shown enjoying life to the full, the same cannot be said about the women. In the title role, and completely deserving of her top billing, Felicity Jones gives a pitch-perfect performance. We see an innocent girl mature, realize the realities of her situation and the times, but at the same time remaining gutsy and upholding her standards. These inner struggles are at the heart of this film.

Nelly's mother is played by Kirstin Scott Thomas, and she gives a very subtle performance, that perfectly captures the ambiguities of the situation, and the time. Joanne Scanlan, has perhaps a very hard role, playing Mrs Dickens. She is the mother of his large brood of children, some still young children. However the scenes between husband and wife show that they are very different and convey problems in the marriage. Mrs Dickens seems a rather stoic figure. She is not portrayed very sympathetically, but rather as dull, quiet and unimaginative. In this film, the part of Mrs Dickens, was never going to be an easy or sympathetic one, but Miss Scanlan delivers a believable and poignant one.

All of the women in this film show that they are trapped by their environment. Their choices are limited, and this is shown well in the film, as well as by the actresses playing their parts.

The last film I saw at the cinema, previous to this, was 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Agent'. Like that film, this one too is directed by one of the actors, and also directed well too. Mr Feinnes demonstrates a fine directing eye. I particularly liked, the slightly disconcerting shots; the complete silence that emphasised the enormity of the passion, the extreme close-ups that reinforced the concept of memories. Even the short horse race scene, which at first seemed artificial, ended authentically, and very cleverly conveyed the anticipation, immediacy, and speed, of a race. From the first bustle onwards, costumes and all other aspects of this period drama seemed truly authentic and without a wrong note. Bravo! Mr Feinnes, Bravo!

This thought-provoking period-drama has elements of love, romance and tragedy. It is a perfectly crafted piece of work and a fitting tribute to all involved. True story. 10/10. Bravissimo!


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