‘The Invisible Woman’ behind Dickens

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The Invisible Woman

The Invisible Woman” is so different in style from Ralph Fiennes’s directorial debut, 2011’s “Coriolanus,” that it’s hard to believe they’re made by the same man. The first film is Shakespeare in martial mode, stridently macho. “Woman,” by contrast, is intimate, painterly, female. It’s nominally about Charles Dickens (Fiennes), but it’s really about Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), the young actress -- 18 when they met, to his 45 -- who became his mistress and great secret, hidden from Victorian society until she began to vanish from her own life.

Beneath the period décor and lamp-lit elegance, this is a story of a profound emotional crime prompted by profound love. It’s also a master class in acting and a quietly ravishing experience on a big screen.

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