In directing “The Invisible Woman” and portraying Charles Dickens, Ralph Fiennes approaches creating something Dickensian — not in the sense of impoverishment but in the sense that it has the fine attention to detail that Dickens himself employed.
Based on a book by biographer Claire Tomalin, and adapted by Abi Morgan (“The Iron Lady”), the movie follows the final years of Dickens’ life as a famous author with a rabid fan base. He meets some actress sisters and soon becomes mutually infatuated with one of them, 18-year-old Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones, beautiful and composed). The affair is kept hidden from the public, though Dickens’ wife, Catherine (Joanna Scanlan), and Nelly’s protective mother, Frances (Kristin Scott Thomas), are suspicious.
Fiennes and Morgan gently probe the tentative, Victorian nature of Dickens’ and Nelly’s affair, as well as Dickens’ reactions to his literary superstar status, to create a thoughtful period drama.
‘The Invisible Woman’
Opens today at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for some sexual content; 111 minutes.