The Invisible Woman. Nelly [Felicity Jones], a happily-married mother and schoolteacher, is haunted by her past. Her memories, provoked by remorse and guilt, take us back in time to follow the story of her relationship with Charles Dickens [Ralph Fiennes] with whom she discovered an exciting but fragile complicity.
Dickens – famous, controlling and emotionally isolated within his success – falls for Nelly, who comes from a family of actors. The theatre is a vital arena for Dickens – a brilliant amateur actor – a man more emotionally coherent on the page or on stage, than in life. As Nelly becomes the focus of Dickens’ passion and his muse, for both of them secrecy is the price, and for Nelly a life of “invisibility”.
The secret love story of aspiring young actress Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens, at the height of his career. Fiennes’ nuanced direction of Abi Morgan’s (Shame) screenplay illuminates the exquisite pain of their affair: the moral dilemma for Dickens, and the sense of entrapment for Nelly as she’s forced to keep their love clandestine. This restrained and intimate romance gracefully lays bare the gender politics of the era.