THE INVISIBLE WOMAN | THE REVIEW

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN is the superb new film from the most awesome actor, Ralph Fiennes, who also happens to be the director. It commences Thursday 17th April in most cinemas, is rated M and runs for 111mins. Fiennes is on fire, hits the big screen and has been remembered always since Schindler’s List, then becomes a household name for being Lord Voldermort, is winning the world over at the moment in THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL and now hits the screen playing, with ease, Charles Dickens. 

 

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN, FELICITY JONES, RALPH FIENNES, Abi Morgan, Claire Tomalin, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander, Movie Review, Pictures from The Invisible Woman
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | THE MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY JASON KING

Nelly (Felicity Jones), a happily-married mother and schoolteacher, is haunted by her past. Her memories, provoked by remorse and guilt, take us back in time to follow the story of her relationship with Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) with whom she discovered an exciting but fragile complicity. Dickens – famous, controlling and emotionally isolated within his success – falls for Nelly, who comes from a family of actors. The theatre is a vital arena for Dickens – a brilliant amateur actor – a man more emotionally coherent on the page or on stage, than in life. As Nelly becomes the focus of Dickens’ passion and his muse, for both of them secrecy is the price, and for Nelly a life of “invisibility.”

 

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN, FELICITY JONES, RALPH FIENNES, Abi Morgan, Claire Tomalin, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander, Movie Review, Pictures from The Invisible Woman
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | CHARLES DICKENS (RALPH FIENNES)

 

Fiennes’ direction of this film, like his acting, is impeccable, the attention to detail with everything is impressive. The stunning costumes, set designs and use of etiquette at the time rang true of a new Merchant Ivory, it was like watching a follow up to Remains of the Day or Howard’s End using half the lead cast of The English Patient. And like all these films they concentrate solely on the characters at the time. Entirely character driven and looking into love and affairs during this personally repressive uptight Victorian age, I would totally have been hanged or shipped off to Australia as a convict in this time, I could not stand the bullshit politeness of it all.

But in this time one man shone, a true legend of literary, Charles Dickens is a true world literary icon, if you have never heard of him, then you need to find out about him. An actor and author and poet who penned some of the greats of our history. A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities and of course, The Adventures of Oliver Twist. All masterpieces, and all books I really need to read or read again – I have seen all film adaptions but I need to immerse in the works of this master. In the times of Dickens, in the mid 1800s he was a true celebrity, a man who was more comfortable in the eye of the fans, stuck in his books or on the stage. Settling down for him was akin to going stale, getting bored, and therefore dying. He was so effervescent and large in personality that it was near on impossible not to love the man, and like most of the celebrities of today, most indiscretions are overlooked, blinded by the glow of fame and talent (the latter mostly missing in the celebrities of today).  But while this was overlooked and mostly forgave for Dickens, it was not so for Nelly Wharton Robinson who had to live in the shadows. This entire time was so stuck up its own ass with societal law and etiquette that the hypocrisy of it all makes one sick to one’s stomach. A woman who has slept with a married man is basically banished from society for the indiscretion but at the same time society did not give two hoots about the starving and dying society living in the streets below their houses. Like today society embraced two classes, those with and those without and if you are without then FUCK YOU.

 

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN, FELICITY JONES, RALPH FIENNES, Abi Morgan, Claire Tomalin, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander, Movie Review, Pictures from The Invisible Woman
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | NELLY WHARTON ROBINSON (FELICITY JONES)

 

Fiennes is a master in the direction and performance of Dickens, so nuanced and natural, he belongs in roles of this time, he owns the screen time and is so powerful. But the truly powerful part about this film is he is outshone by three ladies. His costar in The English Patient, Kristin Scott Thomas is Nelly’s mother. Her strength and subtle performance is as most of her roles, memorable and strong. Then there is Nelly herself, Felicity Jones, a woman who owns every scene she is in, her and Fiennes together is a joy to watch, their non romantic romance scenes hold so much passion yet we never see them. It was reminiscent of the scene from THE PIANO when Harvey Ketiel’s character (George Baines) rubs the tiny hole in Holly Hunter’s (Ada McGrath’s) stocking. That tiny piece of contact was enough to basically orgasm they were so uptight. If they were to see the sexual contact on the public transport system alone today they would die at the impropriety of it all.

Jones lights up the camera and is shot in a lot of closeups, the soft lenses and poetic cinematography of Nelly is as stunning as Jones’ performance. I will automatically go and see Jones in any film now without concern for her performance.

 

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN, FELICITY JONES, RALPH FIENNES, Abi Morgan, Claire Tomalin, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander, Movie Review, Pictures from The Invisible Woman
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | CATHERINE HOGARTH DICKENS (JOANNA SCANLAN)

 

And after that raving would you imagine I would say there was an even better performance, well hold onto your pantaloons because Joanna Scanlan’s performance as Dickens’ wife, Catherine Hogarth Dickens,  is one of the strongest acting performances I have seen in 2014. It is a small role, but if Anne Hathaway can win an Oscar for that minuscule role Scanlan deserves one for this. She playes the woman scorned in a society where she can do nothing. She loves her life and her husband and was once gorgeous and had the love of her husband but their marriage is now basically a business partnership, she is ignored, treated like crap and everything goes against her, she has the biggest personality but has to live a loveless life. It is sad, for me the most likeable person in the film and she basically and literally bears all in her performance – I clap her in this.

 

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN, FELICITY JONES, RALPH FIENNES, Abi Morgan, Claire Tomalin, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander, Movie Review, Pictures from The Invisible Woman
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | DICKENS and THE LADIES

 

One thing I truly loved, but longed for more of was the inspirations Dickens walked past on his way from the poorer sector walking home. Dickens liked to walk and in one scene he walks through a very low society area and got to see the poor, the sick and needy and from this you could see it absorb into Dickens and this would later echo into his writings of many of his books. I saw Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist just in that small walk of his. I loved that, it was like a window into history and I wanted more of that, but this film is a love story and a well told one at that.

This is a “true” story your grandma and mum will love you for. It is so beautifully shot and packed with acting talent. See this for the performances and the nuanced direction of a remarkable talent adapted from a well regarded book by Claire Tomalin.

 

4 Pops