When Charles Dickens was alive and writing, there was hardly a more famous person in the Western world. Ralph Fiennes’ second film as a director stars himself as the frequently mobbed and phenomenally insecure author who spent his private time chasing the affections of a much, much younger woman.
The Invisible Woman opens on Christmas Day and should be playing at an arthouse near you. My review is at Film Racket:
The tragedy of director/star Ralph Fiennes’ uneven literary period drama The Invisible Woman isn’t so much that his Charles Dickens is an arrogant swot who can’t stop himself from swooning over a young woman who is not his wife. What gets your attention instead is the sparking charge that comes in the few close dialogue scenes between Fiennes’ Dickens and the young woman’s mother, Frances Ternan (Kristin Scott Thomas). She’s an itinerant actress, he’s a gadfly author who also loves putting on plays of his own work and, where possible, acting in them; all to hoover up as much acclaim as possible. The two share an easy understanding of artifice, the need to play a role. This knowledge creates a titillating electricity between the two. For a minute, you wish they could just run off and have an extravagently bad affair like the two actors did with The English Patient…
Here’s the trailer: