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Invisible Woman, The (DQ)


Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander, Tom Burke, Perdita Weeks, Joanna Scanlan, Michelle Fairley

Director: Ralph Fiennes

The story of the mistress Charles Dickens hid from the world is given rather too much care and attention here by star/director Fiennes. Despite good performances, the pace is so slow and the settings so dingily shot as to drain much of the drama from the story, which seems to be given less weight that the book on which it's based.

Fiennes himself does contrive to closely resemble the Dickens of portraits, as he deserts the plump mother (Scanlan) of his 10 children, whom he longer desires, to pursue 18-year-old embryo actress Ellen 'Nelly' Ternan, a role in which a rather uneasily cast Jones has to damp down her natural vivacity.

There isn't much more to the tale, whose impact depends heavily on the quality of Abi Morgan's dialogue, which is adequate to the occasion but little more. The 19th century settings are appropriately Dickensian - especially in a brief interlude in which the author trails the back alleys of the city, and the acting competent throughout, with Scanlan particularly fine as the discarded wife, her placid face depicting depths of emotion while barely moving a muscle.

David Quinlan

UK 2012. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Technicolor.
111 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 01 Feb 2014