Period Film Review: Invisible Woman (2013)

Screenshot from 2014-04-13 015949.
I am a feely type of film-watcher, so I found myself disappointed with this rather stiff and passive film. The scenes chopped quickly through Charles Dickens and Nelly’s love affair. I felt no emotional connection with the characters and consequently felt no sympathy for the two.


Screenshot from 2014-04-13 021303For example, when Dickens confessed that Nelly was the embodiment of every fancy that he’d ever become acquainted with – I just didn’t feel his words. And each time Nelly cried, I stared at the screen dry-eyed and totally indifferent.


Screenshot from 2014-04-13 021236The only sympathetic character in this film was Dickens’ wife. Dickens treated her with such emotional cruelty and insensitivity (in the film, that is). Which made Dickens all the more difficult to like.
What also didn’t work for me: Invisible Woman is a film with a very literary flare. SO literary that the film felt rather portentous and pretentious. And the over-the-top melodramatic soundtrack did not help.

What DID work for me was the acting. The acting was great.

  Screenshot from 2014-04-13 022904The choppy scenes, the lack of emotional development, and the ‘written’ feeling to this film just didn’t cut it for me. As a film-watcher with an unsophisticated mind I would give this film a 6/10.


4 thoughts on “Period Film Review: Invisible Woman (2013)

  1. Have you read this book by Claire Tomalin? I think it’s excellent, and I did feel some sympathy for Nelly in it — though none really for Dickens. (Not that I condone the affair, but the book gives a lot of insight into Nelly’s life as an actress, and talks a lot about how much Dickens, despite his sometimes cruel personality toward his own family, cared deeply for the plight of single women.)


    • Oh! It’s great to hear from someone who has read the book. Even in the film Nelly was portrayed in a more sympathetic light. I definitely would have felt more for her had the scenes been developed more.

      I’m thinking of buying a copy of the book. Because despite my disappointment with the film the subject was still interesting – especially the role of single women actresses in Victorian England.

      Thanks for sharing!


  2. This was not the first time that Charles Dickens had fallen for a younger woman. In 1844, eleven years before meeting Ellen Ternan, the 31-year-old Dickens attended a soiree at the Liverpool Mechanics’ Institute. Eighteen-year-old Christina Weller gave a piano recital at the soiree and Dickens was smitten by her, inviting himself to lunch with her next day at her brother-in-law’s house. Nothing came of their meeting, but it sheds light on Dickens’ character. Acknowledgements to Peter Ackroyd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the insight! And very fascinating a very insight at that. I’m starting to see a pattern here with his romantic interests…


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