Jan 13, 2014

The Invisible Woman,

Which is directed by and stars Ralph Fiennes, is a meticulously nearly perfect creation.  It is absolutely gorgeous to behold, and the very first shot of the film, which holds just long enough on the coast of England to remind you that there are still parts of this beautiful world that still look as they did over a century ago, is a marvelous way to start the picture.  Then Felicity Jones walks in to the frame, and we are all pulled back in to the reality that we are watching a movie, a period film.

In addition to the lovely cinematography, the film is also masterfully edited, with a phenomenal use of sound effects that remind us that urban life has always been noisy.  The original score is very good, and was used in an extremely smart way.  Fiennes obviously knows what he is doing as a director, and has done a great deal of good work here.  There are some very fine performances, too.  Ms Jones has her moments, as does Kristin Scott Thomas and Tom Hollander, but the real star for me was Joanna Scanlan as Mrs Dickens.  And, Fiennes is still an extremely beautiful man, and looks ever so handsome in Victorian fashion.

Jo Scanlan is also great in Spaced, In the Loop, and The Thick of It.

The problem is that the film is an absolute crushing bore.  They have spent so much time and effort on a story that Renee and I had little or no interest in.  There is no story there.  The script is by Abi Morgan, who has her CV filled with good things (The Hour, Shame) and bad things (The Iron Lady, The Invisible Woman).

You just do not care about the people in this picture, and you never really get a sense of just how talented and important Charles Dickens was as an artist.  And, where is the comedy and panache and irony that made Dickens' books so special in this script?

The Invisible Woman is, in the end, a beautiful dud; a gorgeous failure.


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