Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dont Forget About The Invisible Woman

Ralph Fiennes has made another good movie!
Admittedly, I enjoyed Coriolanus more, but that is likely just because Shakespeare is Shakespeare. In fact, The Invisible Woman was rather thought provoking. And the style of Ralph Fiennes as director is beginning to take on a little more of an aura.
What took me most by surprise as I left the theatre was the overall purpose... or statement of the film. Ralph really set out to make a point about the nature of people during the times of Dickens... when the world was not so open to sexuality or divorce. That fallen women were made a commonplace standard simply because people could not experience sex out of wedlock with the label "whore" being placed upon their heads. And somehow, in a film that could have easily painted Mr. Dickens as a pervert and sexual fiend, an element of purity and honesty seemed to seep into the mold. Dickens becomes the hero. In this way it doesn't matter how old Felicity Jones' character Nelly is (and she's old enough). What's more crucial here is the struggle to maintain her integrity while still allowing her to experience life.
This is a point I think frequently gets lost in everyday life. If we are free and legal to do what we want, when we want, there is no standard. Is it really better to continue on in a marriage that is no longer based on affection and attraction? Or is divorce just outright wrong? Obviously we as a society have become more open to the idea of divorce. And I think there is a legitimate reason for that. In many ways marriage is an old-fashioned pursuit. It is no longer indicative of the kinds of relationships most people are capable of maintaining. This is not to say marriage should be lost. Indeed, many people are quite capable of finding a balance that truly does work. But it's not everyone and it's not always and Dickens, at least in this film, was fighting for others' abilities to say they want what they want and that is nobody else's business but their own.
Felicity Jones did a great job here, though her part frequently seemed to take a back seat to the more bombastic and vocal character of Dickens.
Ralph Fiennes balanced a tightrope bringing Dickens into focus. He is always the center of attention, knows what he wants, but doesn't like to break things. He is both tender and raucous and still a real human being. I think he managed quite well given the scope of the character. Kristin Scott Thomas is always good and she managed to bring a life to her character I don't think many others could have grasped. Joanna Scanlan brought an incredible realism to Catherine Dickens and I found her performance worthy of note. It could have been very difficult to make this character feel believable, but watching the film I never so much as blinked. Tom Hollander as Wilkie Collins helped to solidify the film for me, giving just the right speech at just the right time to help me put the rest of the film together.
The score was very interesting and I think Ilan Eshkeri may be deserving of a little more note. And I can't forget, the costumes were Oscar nominated and I totally understand why. That category's gonna be difficult this year, but I wouldn't put it past The Invisible Woman to pull out a win.

In the end, Ralph Fiennes' The Invisible Woman became a very intriguing conversation. One I would be interested in sitting down and discussing with anyone.

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