FilmReview

Review: The Dull Story of Dickens' "Invisible Woman"

Griffin Conlogue ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Editor

Ralph Fienne in The Invisible Woman. Photo Credit: David Appleby / Sony Pictures Classics.
Ralph Fiennes in The Invisible Woman. Photo Credit: David Appleby / Sony Pictures Classics.

Ralph Fiennes has been making some interesting choices with the films he directs.  The Invisible Woman is his follow up to his directorial debut, 2011’s Coriolanus.  That film, which can be described as a modernized Shakespearian action-war film, is the farthest thing from what his new feature is.  The Invisible Woman is a slow, meandering story of Charles Dickens and his youthful mistress.

Ralph Fiennes plays Dickens in the film, a youthful and selfish man who is shown to be completely obsessed with his own celebrity.  His mistress must constantly grapple and question whether Dickens is more in love with her, or his fame.  It is an upsetting story because of the control Dickens demands over this young woman.

Felicity Jones and Ralph Fiennes in The Invisible Woman. Photo Credit: David Appleby / Sony Pictures Classics.
Felicity Jones and Ralph Fiennes in The Invisible Woman. Photo Credit: David Appleby / Sony Pictures Classics.

The two things about this film that deserve the most acclaim are the acting and the production design.  The film was recently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, and for good reason.  The film’s landscape is also realistically beautiful and deserves to be recognized.  However, the quality art direction should not overshadow the wonderful performance by Felicity Jones.  Jones is a star on the rise, who many have pegged as the next Jennifer Lawrence.  Though she has since gone a different path than Lawrence post-Sundance, starring in mostly art films and plays, this year could be her breakout year.  She is guest starring on the HBO series Girls and also landed a role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

The pieces all combine to make a quality film, but ultimately it is the story that is the issue.  There just is not enough content to make a compelling two hour-film.  Many scenes drag on, making it easy to lose interest.  Though the end seemed to be building to a riveting conclusion, it ended up fizzling out in the end, wrapping up on a rather low note.  The deliberate pacing of the story distracts the viewer from the passion and lust brought forth by the two leads, and ultimately makes you wish she had just avoided this affair all together.

Overall Grade: C+

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