By Megan Bianco
When he isn’t correcting the pronunciation of his first name (say “rayf”), Ralph Fiennes has a reputation as one of the most impressive actors in cinema and still one of the most underrated.
Over the last three decades, Fiennes has gained two Academy Award nominations for Schindler’s List (1993) and The English Patient (1996), as well as having co-starred in a few cult classics like Strange Days (1995) and In Bruges (2008). Now The Invisible Woman marks Fiennes’ second go at directing since his first experiment, Coriolanus in 2011.
Fiennes plays Charles Dickens, the most famous writer of 1857 England, and Felicity Jones is a young stage actress, Nelly Ternan, who idolizes him while they work together.
Throughout their time together, it becomes apparent the two share romantic feelings for each other. Nelly’s mother and sisters worry for her because of her age and naiveté, and there’s still the issue of Mrs. Dickens (Joanna Scalan) on Charles’ end.
The Invisible Woman also features Kristin Scott Thomas and Michelle Fairley. Visually, the film isn’t really much different from any other English period piece we’ve seen during Oscar season.
There are the accents, the poofy costumes and the doomed romances. While Fiennes and Thomas are fine onscreen, the story is a bit dull and the chemistry between Dickens and Ternan feels forced. Fairley’s cameo stands out as the film’s most interesting scene.