Remember when you were in school and had a crush on the star basketball or football player who didn’t know you were alive…like you were invisible? It’s the same feeling a woman has who falls in love with a married man. Nelly Ternan knew this feeling all too well when the infamous playwright/novelist Charles Dickens fell in love with her at the height of his popularity in England.
Dickens is known for writing such recognizable titles as Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Tale of Two Cities, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and the list goes on and on. What he is not known for to his millions of his fans is having an 13-year old affair with young, aspiring actress/writer Nelly Ternan or for unceremoniously leaving his wife and having the details printed in the local paper as a means of shutting down the gossip only to throw more fuel on the fire at the expense of his own budding career.
Ralph Fiennes is the film’s director/star of this film and Felicity Jones portrays Dicken’s secret lover Nelly Ternan. Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas are briefly reunited onscreen for the first time since “The English Patient” as the loving, protective mother or Nelly…Frances Ternan.
The most interesting thing about this film is the fact that it is told from Nelly’s point of view and shares how terribly alone being a “secret” could be during and after Dicken’s death. We also see how painful moving out the shadows and the sadness of the past can be should you choose to dwell there.
In my humble opinion, this subject doesn’t necessarily warrant a feature film, as it wasn’t until halfway through that my attention was actually peaked. Most viewers would probably fare better reading the book by Clare Tomalin. The Invisible Woman is in theaters now.