Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Dec 24, 2013
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Sep 16, 2013
    So tastefully mounted and brilliantly acted that it wears down even the corset-phobic’s innate resistance to such things.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Sep 15, 2013
    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.
  4. 90
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Dec 24, 2013
    The Invisible Woman finds Ralph Fiennes proving as adept behind the camera as he is in front of it.
  6. Reviewed by: Godfrey Cheshire
    Dec 25, 2013
    The film represents a formidable achievement for Fiennes as both actor and director.
  7. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Dec 24, 2013
    A meticulously rendered, tasteful and moving period drama.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Jan 27, 2014
    A lovely young woman (Felicity Jones) finds herself in a controversial affair with Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes, who also directed). Actually, the whole thing is her flashback, but it doesn't really matter…it's pretty insipid either way. This period piece is beautifully-made, but its roots in a time of repressed emotion leaks into the film itself. It's so genteel, quiet and subdued, which translates into slow and dull. The performances are fine and the cinematography is pretty, but it's just too tamped down to ever rouse much emotional fervor. Full Review »
  2. May 27, 2014
    Pretty dull. Even the famous train crash was boring. I've read the book and they left so much out, expected a lot more from this. Good acting but the film overall was a chore. Full Review »
  3. Apr 28, 2014
    Having recently read Claire Tomlin's book upon which the movie was based and from which the movie takes its title, I was intrigued to see how the Ralph Fiennes, the director, would make a compellingly dramatic plot about this academically inclined book focuses on Charles Dickens and a young woman whose relationship is fairly ambiguous -- much in thanks to Mr. Dickens. The book focuses on the powerlessness of Victorian women to control their own lives, particularly young women who, while freed to a certain degree by involvement in theatre life, are forever cast out of polite society. It is clear from the book, without any Spoilers being provided, that Ellen Turnan, or Nelly, the woman in question, lived a life of shadows. The ambiguity of the relationship, her feelings about it, and exactly what the sexual nature was largely make for a very compelling read and remain the driving point of the book. Tomlins goes to great lengths not to impose her imposition of suspicions where fact does not strongly hint in such direction. The movie, is not as true to history (or at least that of which we know). Again, I will avoid spoilers for readers and viewers. The movie provides a viewpoint imposed by either its screen-writer, Abi Morgan, or Fiennes as director. Necessarily so, perhaps, but possibly the movie could have been more engaging with that "unknowing" that remains surrounding this relationship and this woman. That being said, I will that none of the liberties taken are out of the blue but chosen from an endless number of theories (discussed and favored by the author who also notes strongly there is no conclusive evidence for any theory's final validity). The film does provide an entertaining examination of one of the world's foremost authors and his control over a woman who appears to be self-determined in many ways. I appreciate the constant running from memories motif that is turned on its head at the end, so that we see Fanny no longer running away, but rather toward, herself. No longer hiding in the shadows but embracing that "She is here." Again, Felicity Jones is exceptionally adept at portraying the silently warring feelings this woman must have surely endured throughout her life after meeting Mr. Dickens. Mr. Fiennes plays an interesting Dickens. I wish, however, the film had shown in more detail the lengths to which Mr. Dickens went to conceal his double life and the war within himself that he was likely waging. This would have given the actor room to work his acting chops while further underscoring the reasons why Fanny is invisible in history. But he probably is wise in his choice of focus on Nelly. Felicity Jones' exceptional depiction of this woman of whom so much be inferred is masterful. She conveys the constant straining of emotion and agency in Fanny with few words, successfully using her face to show the internal human warring with herself and the world over her circumstances, her feelings, and her desire to come out of the shadows. Her exceptional will to find a way amidst her unusual circumstances isn't adequately driven home by the movie -- but not due to Felicity Jones' superb work. And the liberties taken with unknown facts, I feel, do a disservice to the point of how profoundly invisible her life was until after Dickens' death and how painful it must have been for the remainder of her days. The scenery and costume along with set design are exceptional. Dialogue is very well written. Structure of the story excellently constructed given the difficulty of how to adapt from the book. Overall, it was exceptionally interesting if not completely satisfying in what it could have been. But I do thank the movie for bringing Felicity Jones' to the forefront -- an oddly gratifying thing for a fellow actress considering Ellen Turnan's, herself an actress in a family of actors) life in the background. Full Review »