Invisible Woman (1/10)
way to the screening, my guest said, “You’re going to hate this.”
“What?” said I, “This is the story about Charles Dickens and his young
mistress. Surely that will be interesting.”
my guest was right. This is the most boring movie I’ve seen since
Spielberg’s glacial Lincoln. In some movies I fight to stay
awake. In this one I was fighting to go to sleep so the time would pass
were exiting the movie we were behind two elderly ladies. One looked at
the other and said, with a serious look on her face, “Powerful.” My
guest and I looked at each other perplexed. I knew my guest had liked it
a little better than I. But she beat me to the punch. “Powerful?” she
asked. “Did she see the same movie we saw?”
the problem is that the director is Ralph Fiennes, who has made his mark
as an actor in such dirges as Maid in Manhattan, In Bruges, and
the ultimate drag, The English Patient. Acting in those things
that would make an ant crawling across the screen pretty exciting might
have made him think that movies are an art form for lack of pace and
he has done himself proud. Although the production values are
exceptional, especially the costuming (Michael O’Connor), this is about
as captivating as watching paint dry.
Apparently this is based on Claire Tomalin’s 1990 biography of the 18
year old actress, Ellen Ternan (Felicity Jones), and the affair that
Charles Dickens (Fiennes) had with her, starting when he was 46. God,
there must have been more to it than this. If not, I feel for poor
not even any sex in it to liven it up. They both remain chastely clothed
throughout. The only nudity is of Dickens’ rotund wife, Catherine
(Joanna Scanlan), and there’s nothing sexy about that.
both Dickens and Ternan burned all their personal letters, everything
about their affair is speculative, but it does seem established that she
lived with him for the last 13 years of his life.
generally like period pieces and strain to give them the benefit of the
doubt. This one didn’t measure up.