Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: 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. [Sony Pictures Classics] Expand
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: Godfrey Cheshire
    Dec 25, 2013
    The film represents a formidable achievement for Fiennes as both actor and director.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 28, 2013
    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.
  4. 75
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Jan 16, 2014
    The Invisible Woman is, fair warning, leisurely in its pace.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 25, 2013
    A delicate counterpoise of passion and restraint, The Invisible Woman is a major work in a minor key.
  7. Reviewed by: Steve Davis
    Jan 22, 2014
    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.

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Apr 22, 2014
    This is a classic. Great story, intriguing film in conclusion with great performances by it's talented cast. Specifically Ralph Fiennes as always leaves a striking performance. Must watch for all of whom have interest in the drama/biopic genres of film. Looking forward to purchase it in blu-ray format. Expand
  2. Jan 9, 2014
    This is a beautifully shot, wonderfully acted film about a little-known aspect of the life of Charles Dickens.
    Felicity Jones is
    incandescent, and does a brilliant job of capturing the young woman's equivocal feelings about getting involved with the most famous writer of the time. Ralph Fiennes takes his time to build the connection between the two. He's a sensitive, commanding director, and inhabits the role magnificently. A beautiful movie, under-appreciated in my view. Expand
  3. Dec 29, 2013
    A jewel: the 19th century and Charles Dickens come alive in this jewel directed and starring Ralph Fiennes. The heavily garbed women, great sweeps of countryside, and living in little houses "in town," and even the poor and "fallen women" on the streets of London come to life. Charles Dickens too: a entertaining man in real life, not just in his fiction and plays. An interesting plot with sympathetic treatment: how could one have an affair in the 19th century, examined from every perspective: from the great man, who also loves his public Dickens is a superstar his best friend, Wilkie Collins, the mystery writer, who doesn't believe in the institution of marriage, the woman Dickens loves, her mother, the great man's wife, the whispering public, a non-judgmental vicar. Dickens seems a man for our own time. No wonder Fiennes wanted to bring him to life. Felicity Jones co-stars, and she brings virginal purity, and passion and ferocity at times to the part. A good acting company as well. The kind of production one expects from the British. Expand
  4. 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. Expand
  5. 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. Collapse
  6. Dec 26, 2013
    foxgrove Dec 25, 20135Some what plodding costume drama about the secret mistress of Charles Dickens that tends to give the genre a bad name. Ralph Fiennes is slow to satisfactorily embody the role but his performance does improve with time. The wonderful Kristin Scott Thomas is shamefully wasted and Felicity Jones is vacuous as the title character. It's all rather staid and boring, but there is a terrific train crash which temporarily jolts one back in to life and also a dignified turn by Joanna Scanlan as Dickens' wife. The music score is awful and totally out of key with the rest of the film. Expand
  7. 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. Expand

See all 9 User Reviews