Abi Morgan Sheds Light on 'The Invisible Woman'

For his second outing as a director (after the Shakespearean thriller Coriolanus), Ralph Fiennes takes on the untold story of Charles Dickens' secret romantic life. The Invisible Woman catches up with Dickens (played by Fiennes) in mid-career as he meets 18-year-old actress Nellie Ternan (Felicity Jones) and embarks on an affair.

Ralph Fiennes The Invisible WomanRalph Fiennes [L] in 'The Invisble Woman'

What makes this different from the usual period drama is the ambitious script by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady), who writes the story as if it's a repressed 19th century novel rather than a 2013 movie. All of the key story moments are off-screen, leaving audiences to fill in the blanks. And in fine Victorian style, the characters continually refuse to articulate their feelings. 

Critics have been divided over whether this approach works. The film has a 76% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with most critics noting the subtle performances and beautiful production design. On the other hand, the film's slow pacing and vague plotting leave other reviewers cold. Read our The Invisible Woman review.

And awards-season voters have been fairly unimpressed across the board. The film only managed one nomination each in the Baftas and Oscars: for Michael O'Connor's elaborate costumes. This suggests that it's one for fans of finely crafted cinema, but perhaps not for those who want to get involved in a strong story.

Watch The Invisible Woman trailer:


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