The Invisible Woman

Directed By: Ralph Fiennes

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Tom Hollander

"A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other."
-Charles Dickens

Ralph Fiennes is one of the few big screen talents who can seamlessly navigate between the worlds of big budget blockbusters and indie cinema.  He's a very versatile talent and has proven it time and time again.  After all, he has given us He Who Must Not Be Named in the Harry Potter films, the new M in Skyfall, Amon Goeth in Schindler's List, and more recently Caius Martius Coriolanus in his adaptation of the famous Shakespearean play.  However, he doesn't always knock it out of the park.  His latest film The Invisible Woman is a great example of this.  He did well as Magwitch in Great Expectations last year.  With this in mind, there was no need to tackle author Charles Dickens himself.

Catherine Ternan (Kristin Scott Thomas) is a mother of three.  She's never had to worry about her two older daughters.  They're talented actresses and can make their own way.  Her youngest daughter Nelly (Felicity Jones), on the other hand, is an entirely different case.  She can't act and has no other substantial talent for that matter.  When the girls go to work with acclaimed author Charles Dickens (Fiennes), Catherine sees her opportunity to set up Nelly for life.  Seeing that the author is rather fond of her daughter, Catherine plays matchmaker with Charles and Nelly.  The film chronicles Nelly's years as Dickens's secret mistress.

The Invisible Woman was a snooze fest.  The girl next to me was asleep.  The guy a few seats down my row was snoring.  Countless others throughout the theater were also getting some shuteye as I looked around it.  As Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones gave us one bland Saturday afternoon, I was pretty tempted to follow suit with my fellow moviegoers.  For the entire first half of the film, I can definitively say that I was bored out of my mind.  As I was watching it, my mind obviously wandered to the one question that had to be on everyone's mind.  Why is this movie an Oscar nominee, even if for just costume design?  The Academy voters were clearly asleep at the wheel.  The second half is a little more stimulating, but it’s too late by this point.  Fiennes has already lost us all.

While the film itself isn't exactly enthralling, I must pay a compliment to its star Felicity Jones.  For her part as Nelly Ternan, she gives one haunting performance.  As a young woman faced with the notion of secretly sharing a man whom she's not sure she truly loves with his adoring public or alternatively struggling financially to stay afloat alone, Jones takes an impressively dark turn on screen.  It's a really nuanced performance that stands out in an otherwise dull cinematic experience.

I’m not going to harp on this movie.  I’m sure you can tell where I stand.  The Invisible Woman gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a couple of glasses of gin and tonic with this one.  You'll need something strong like this to stay awake.