“Period biographical dramas don’t come much better than The Invisible Woman, an exceptionally involving and credible portrayal of the relationship Charles Dickens maintained with a much younger woman over the last 13 years of his life. 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. Not at all a starchy and decorous tradition of quality affair, the film has a lived-in feel that is informed by Fiennes, in both his artistic capacities, with the gusto, energy and turbulence one associates with Dickens himself. Working with an intelligent and shrewdly structured script by Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady), Fiennes quickly establishes the vastness of the great author’s world–his artistic eminence, popularity as both a writer and public speaker, father of ten, tireless worker on behalf of society’s destitute–as well as his Victorian-era reticence to embark upon an extra-marital affair despite his now empty marriage to a wife who can’t begin to keep up with him physically or intellectually…The complexity of a great man’s career merges here with a young woman’s agitated struggle to redefine her role in life to create a richly satisfying dramatic repast. Fiennes charges Dickens with an engaging vitality that sweeps up everyone in his vicinity but is checked by a prudent moral sense that makes his percolating personality something distinct from generalized lust for life.”—Variety. “Some of the strongest acting of any contemporary film”—Stephen Holden, N.Y. Times. R. 111 Min.
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