By Rachel McMillan, guest blogger
The Invisible Woman is a film that goes to great lengths to uncover the hidden Dickens, a Dickens unfamiliar to those who enjoy his happy endings and the moralistic brushstrokes that redeem Scrooge through Bob Cratchit’s tightly knit family.
Here, Ralph Fiennes has taken the sordid side of Dickens from Claire Tomalin’s biography of Ellen “Nelly” Ternan, and infused it into the film with no lack of passion, but a great deal of narrative depth and integrity. After the Toronto screening I saw, director/star Ralph Fiennes and his co-star Felicity Jones talked about their passion for the script as well as for the source material. The young Jones was challenged by the “meat” she found in the role.
At the same time, though, the film waded into soap opera territory: straining to find a dark side to Dickens that scholars know existed, without balancing his lesser qualities with his great talent.