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‘The Invisible Woman,’ Unveils Charles Dickens’ Big Secret

Photo: Courtesy Photo, License: N/A

Courtesy Photo

Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) and Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones) share a moment in 'The Invisible Woman.' The affair lasted until the end of his days.


Additional tension comes, of course, from Ternan’s mistress status, the titular invisibility with which she must live, even long after Dickens has left the world. “Don’t be foolish: You can’t keep her a secret,” says Mrs. Dickens. “Yes I can,” replies her defiant husband.

With hardly anything left to prove as an actor, Fiennes’ new film makes a strong case for him as a director, after his Coriolanus (2011) was accurately described by Variety as “Shakespeare by way of Michael Bay.” In contrast, The Invisible Woman is a wonderful film for lovers of literature. Despite its dark, forbidden-love subject matter (and a desolate look at the destructive nature of infidelity), the film manages to end on a bright note when Jones delivers an excellent, Dickens-less scene that says it all without the need for words.

The Invisible Woman

Dir. Ralph Fiennes; writ. Abi Morgan; feat. Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas, Joanna Scanlan, Tom Hollander (R)
Opens January 24 at the Bijou

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