Screening Room: “The Invisible Woman”

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1) THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (R)
Sony Pictures Classics
 
RUSS: From “Schindler’s List” to “The English Patient” to the “Harry Potter” series, actor Ralph Fiennes has proved himself to be a formidable talent. His latest big screen turn has him working on both sides of the camera as star and director.

In “The Invisible Woman,” Fiennes plays novelist Charles Dickens who, at age 45 and at the pinnacle of his career, risks all by separating from his wife and taking on an 18-year-old mistress who remained his companion until his death. Felicity Jones plays Nelly Ternan, a young actress of questionable talent, who somewhat reluctantly becomes Dickens extramarital partner.

As the movie makes clear, Miss Ternan was a devotee of Dickens’ work and strongly admired him. But it was Dickens who had the romantic attachment in the relationship while Ternan paid a heavy personal price.

Beautifully produced, the movie has earned a deserved Oscar nomination for its costume design. But don’t look for emotional resonance. This is a very reserved movie that takes place in a very reserved time. Since Ternan apparently didn’t share Dickens’ romantic inclinations, the story lacks a passionate spark. What we have is a sensitive tale of frustration and loss.

The actors, especially Feinnes, are very strong. While intelligent, “The Invisible Woman” is a tame and bloodless romance that is more to be admired than enjoyed.

Shawn, however, says, "Elegant and sophisticated. Director Ralph Fiennes proves to not only be a competent director but also still an engaging actor. It gets a bit dull but it's always interesting. And why wasn't Felicity Jones included in any Oscar talk?"

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

ALSO OPENING THIS WEEK:

-Vanessa Hudgens stars in "Gimme Shelter" (PG-13), a drama based on a true story about a pregnant teenager living on the streets. Rosario Dawson, Brendan Fraser and James Earl Jones co-star.

-The producers of the "Undeworld" franchise offer yet another over-the-to; horror flick, "I, Frankenstein" (PG-13).  Aaron Eckhart stars as Dr. Frankenstein's creation who battles demons and gargoyles in an effects-heavy action opus.

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