For those looking for a film to get your heart pumping, I am sorry to report that Ralph Fiennes’ “Invisible Woman” may rather put you in a state similar to a vegetative coma; but then again, England’s Victorian age was not exactly the “Roaring 20s.”
“The Invisible Woman,” which was directed by Fiennes, is the tale of Charles Dickens’ (Fiennes again) romantic relationship with wanna-be young actress Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones). Dickens, who has already received fame and adulation from the public, also has a wife and a gaggle of children; but his life is somewhat lacking at the homestead. Torn between a life of public adoration and what would be a frowned upon affair with a mistress, Dickens juggles his public perception by keeping his young muse a secret: Thus the “invisible woman.”
Dickens’ wife, who is aware of the situation, is happy to sit in background and allow Charles to have his way by reasoning that this is somehow part of his job─ but when Dickens feels it is necessary to break off his romance because of unsavory public rumors, he to decides to call off the affair by publishing an article in the local newspaper, which defends poor Nell’s reputation. In the meantime, Mrs. Dickens must find out the news of Charles breakup with his mistress, while having coffee and crumpets and perusing the morning paper: This is clearly a “man who wants his cake, and eat it to.”
The depiction of Dickens as a brilliant, but self absorbed man is well done by director/actor Fiennes, but the compulsion to give him a good slap by the viewer is a little too overwhelming. In that respect, the movie has done a good job of describing the writer’s character flaws ─ it’s just that the whole affair is a bit of a bore.
My Rating 2 of 5 Diminished Great Expectations.