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The Invisible Woman

Drama . Romance . Biography . History

In 1857, at the height of his fame and fortune, novelist and social critic Charles Dickens meets and falls in love with teenage stage actress Nelly Ternan. As she becomes the focus of his heart and mind, as well as his muse, painful secrecy is the price both must pay.

Actors: Tom Attwood , Tom Burke , Perdita Weeks , Amanda Hale , John Kavanagh , Michelle Fairley , Tom Hollander , Kristin Scott Thomas , Joanna Scanlan , Felicity Jones , Susanna Hislop , Ralph Fiennes
Directors: Ralph Fiennes
Country: UK
Release: 2014-02-21
More Info:
  • Kenneth Turan

    The Invisible Woman is an exceptional film about love, longing and regret. It's further proof, if proof were needed, that classic filmmaking done with passion, sensitivity and intelligence results in cinema fully capable of blowing you away.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    So tastefully mounted and brilliantly acted that it wears down even the corset-phobic’s innate resistance to such things.

    Variety Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    A career high point for Ralph Fiennes as both an actor and director, this unfussy and emotionally penetrating work also provides lead actress Felicity Jones with the prime role in which she abundantly fulfills the promise suggested in some of her earlier small films.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    With her swanlike neck and ever-flushing complexion, Felicity Jones has a perfect nineteenth-century look, but there’s something forward and modern about her physiognomy, her huge eyes and strong nose and overbite. As she gazes down in enforced modesty, you feel her soul about to burst. The performance is startlingly vivid.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Nick Schager

    The Invisible Woman finds Ralph Fiennes proving as adept behind the camera as he is in front of it.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Godfrey Cheshire

    The film represents a formidable achievement for Fiennes as both actor and director. Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    A meticulously rendered, tasteful and moving period drama.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Dave Calhoun

    The Invisible Woman is only partly a romance; it’s the tragedy of Nelly’s life that makes itself more powerfully heard.

    Time Out London Full Review
  • Angie Errigo

    One for lovers of ravishing craft, although the elusive emotional engagement is frustrating.

    Empire Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    The performances are outstanding.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    The Invisible Woman gives us a plausible image of the great man in the fullness of his celebrity, and an affecting portrait of the woman who lived much of her life in his shadow.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Stephen Holden

    You may become impatient with the leisurely pace of The Invisible Woman and its occasional narrative vagueness, but its open spaces leave room for some of the strongest acting of any contemporary film.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    The movie deepens as Nelly, destined for the gossip columns and a peripheral attachment, becomes painfully aware of her own fragility (Jones’s performance is devastating).

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Tim Robey

    Abi Morgan's script – better, for my money, than her work on either Shameor The Iron Lady – elegantly straddles two timelines to illuminate a deliberately obscured life

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • Catherine Shoard

    The Invisible Woman shies from propaganda just as Nelly shies from impropriety. Fiennes has done the right and proper thing here. He has, at 50, made a mature movie, prudent in the best possible sense.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • William Goss

    Fiennes and writer Abi Morgan mercifully forsake the gee-golly traditions of similar fame-minded constructing a narrative as emotionally repressed as its subjects must have been, with each character existing within their own arena of personal and social compromise. Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    Felicity Jones gives a fierce and moving performance as Nelly.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Fiennes isn’t naturally an outgoing performer, and he’s playing the most extroverted author in English history. So he does his best work in intimate moments, when Dickens finds himself at a loss for words.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Even if you don't entirely buy this version of events, director Ralph Fiennes has given us a speculation that works as drama. It's an elegant bit of goods.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Jones (Like Crazy) gives Nelly's tragic plight a palpable anguish. There is no doubt that Dickens - who was mad about theater, about acting, about inhabiting other lives onstage and in the pages of his books - was in love with Nelly.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    The Invisible Woman is, fair warning, leisurely in its pace.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    The Invisible Woman is less a conventional love story than a wise, often troubling contemplation of myriad modern impulses, from the lure of celebrity and public acclaim to the compartmentalizing of identity and the gender politics of Great Man-ism.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    Beneath the period décor and lamp-lit elegance, this is a story of a profound emotional crime prompted by profound love.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Connie Ogle

    The Invisible Woman offers a compelling glimpse at a life once hidden.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    One of the singular pleasures of films like The Invisible Woman is the window they offer into the lives of deceased authors who are known primarily to modern audiences only through the words they committed to paper.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Fiennes holds it all together by force of what he does show us about the man, his kindness tempered with cruelty, the charity he practiced and preached, the morality he could never live up to. It’s the visible great man who makes The Invisible Woman worth watching.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    The Invisible Woman at its best does justice to the complicatedness of its characters – just as Dickens did as a writer.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Very good at pointing out the social difficulties surrounding the Dickens-Ternan relationship, the power dynamics within it and the lasting effects of it.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    Mr. Fiennes admirably humanizes the characters while exploring their contradictions and emphasizing their feelings. But his no-frills direction is a bit stodgy for my taste, and although this is not the Dickens you’d ever pay to hear read "Little Dorrit," there’s more vitality in his performance than the film itself.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    Though suffering from dry patches and a fairly mannered approach, The Invisible Woman eventually makes its way to a powerful final third documenting an ultimately tragic romance in deeply felt terms.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    A delicate counterpoise of passion and restraint, The Invisible Woman is a major work in a minor key.

    Time Full Review
  • Keith Phipps

    Jones delivers a quietly wrenching performance as a woman who comes to recognize too late how much of herself she’s lost. It’s subtle work in a film that is sometimes content to be a little too subtle.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    Fiennes and screenwriter Abi Morgan deserve credit for crafting something more nuanced than a mere scandal-airing demonization.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Chris Willman

    [Fiennes] has rarely been better than he is as the 19th century’s most celebrated novelist, with his chops on screen just about matched by what he’s done behind.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Farran Smith Nehme

    By refusing to consider that Dickens and Ternan ever brought each other any happiness, the movie is more Victorian in its attitudes than even some Victorians were.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    Directed tastefully by Ralph Fiennes, The Invisible Woman is very lovely to look at. But it lives up to its own title too well.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Mike D'Angelo

    Handsome and intelligent, it’s nonetheless a tepid portrait of a relationship that would be unremarkable were the gentleman not Dickens.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Andrew Schenker

    Ralph Fiennes's film feels not so much rooted in the past as it is mired in conventions about how to portray that past.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    There must also be a spark, a sense of life, a compelling reason for being. If a film doesn't have those -- which The Invisible Woman doesn't -- well, it might as well be invisible.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Steve Davis

    It’s the subtext of 19th century gender politics that keeps this footnote in Dickens’ life mildly interesting, but it’s a not much upon which to rest an entire movie.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • David Denby

    Fiennes and his team have mounted a handsome re-creation of Victorian England, but the Dickens-Ternan affair isn't much of a story -- at least, not as realized here. [6 Jan. 2014, p.73]

    The New Yorker Full Review
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