Saturday, 7 July 2018

The Invisible Woman

Whoever we're with, we're alone.
Set in 1850's England, this is a largely true (from what I can gather) story of Charles Dickens, his writings, readings and performances on the circuit of the day, dovetailing with a view of his personal life, family and more significantly, relationship with a young mistress.

The film was also very much a snapshot of a time where more privileged people amused themselves with art and social engagements instead of having to work for a living. Where manners were more important than money, honest expression of thoughts, feelings and emotions. Where values and the result of fame had a direct consequence for those embracing it in levels of freedom, happiness and contentment.

But it's also a sad tale of the wife of Charles Dickens, played by Joanna Scanlan, having provided him with the vessel to attain a flock of children, then cast aside for a younger model. And she stole the show, for me. She was only in a few scenes but they were emotional, poignant and considered. She was very convincing and I think very good actor.

Ralph Fiennes, who also directed, didn't really stretch himself in this outing unlike Felicity Jones who, from what else I've seen of her in other films, certainly did. She grasped the role of the mistress and devoured it. The film's best moments were the emotional close-up scenes between the main players and they were executed beautifully, where silence and extended pause was not feared, but embraced for dramatic effect.

The film was beautifully shot. Close up scenes thoughtful and well composed, long shots often with focus thrown out. The settings are colourless and dour, which I guess is a reflection of the time. It's a bit of a slow-burner but certainly well worthy of a Sunday afternoon viewing.


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