Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Invisible Woman Blu-Ray Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
Nelly (Felicity Jones) is haunted by her past. Her memories 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. 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.”

Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Told in a flashback, a now-married with children of her own, Nelly (Felicity Jones) recounts her memories of her time as Charles Dickens’ mistress and muse. Nelly begins her young life as an actress and along with her mother and sisters, acts in a traveling troupe. As circumstance has it, Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) is on a speaking tour and after seeing one of Nelly’s performances begins attending as many performances as he can.

Charles is in an unhappy loveless marriage with children and at the height of his career. After meeting Nelly, he falls in love and he and Nelly begin spending a great deal of time together. People begin talking and Charles realizes that to keep her in his life, he needs to keep Nelly a secret. They begin a secret affair, traveling together and Charles finds a muse in Nelly. After a devastating loss and accident, Charles realizes that it is harder and harder to keep Nelly his secret and after making her comfortable in a country home, he leaves her. Many years later, Nelly reminisces on her life with Charles and, as she watches her son perform in his own play, she realizes the life she would have led with Charles would never have been as fulfilling.

I had a hard time with this movie. The story of his mistress was not an interesting story to me and I was bored. Ralph Fiennes was wonderful as Charles Dickens and I really thought he encompassed the character well. Felicity Jones and Kristin Scott Thomas pulled off the loving mother/daughter relationship. While disapproving of the relationship with Charles, Nelly’s mother supported her daughter and tried to help her see the ramifications of the relationship. I enjoyed the acting, the costumes, sets and time period of The Invisible Woman, even though I did not enjoy the story itself. I was surprised to see that Ralph Fiennes also directed the film and thought he did a good job. The emotion involved in the story really came across and for this reason and the reasons above; it warrants a higher score than I would give the story alone.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
The 1080p high definition presentation of The Invisible Woman was really well done. The locations were gorgeous; the costuming spot on for the time period and the picture was clear and bright. There were many dark scenes, but they were done well and the shadows and blacks blended well with the rest of the picture. Skin tones ranged from a little pink to pasty but seemed to fit the scene’s moments well.
Audio (2 out of 5 stars)
The English DTS-HD 5.1 master audio for The Invisible Woman was terrible. I understand that the dialogue was soft, but I should never have to turn the volume up almost to the maximum just to hear what is being said. There were times the character spoke so softly, I couldn’t hear it at all, and about three-quarters of the way through the movie, I felt like giving up. I strained to hear the dialogue almost every minute of the film and it really made me dislike the film. Audio is also available in Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HS master audio and Spanish 5.1. Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish if you want to try to watch it in another language. The subtitles for the audio commentary are available in English, English SDH, Portuguese and Spanish. I wonder if I would have enjoyed the movie more if I had turned on the English subtitles.
Extras (1 1/2 out of 5 stars)
There were a few special features, all so boring and none of which I would have considered special features. It seemed to me like the producers took cameras on the press junket and let them roll, hoping they’d get some good stuff. (FYI – they didn’t).
  • Commentary with Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones – The film with commentary from the stars. 
  • SAG Foundation Conversations with Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones – A 26-minute conversation with the stars of the film, led by Fandango chief correspondent Dave Karger. This was really boring and I didn’t care hearing them talk about the movie. I did, however, love Felicity Jones’ hot pink shoes.
  • On the Red Carpet at the Toronto Premiere – Footage of the premiere of the movie in Toronto. This included an introductory speech by Director/Actor, Ralph Fiennes and a concluding speech by Fiennes introducing Felicity Jones and the producers. The concluding speech also included a question and answer period from members of the audience.
  • Toronto International Film Festival Press Conference – The press conference for the Toronto International Film Festival.
  • Theatrical Trailer – The official theatrical trailer for The Invisible Woman. Watching this made me want to see the film.
  • Previews – A replay of the previews at the beginning of the disc.
Summary (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
I was so disappointed in this movie. I’m usually a fan of literary-type movies, movies about historical figures, sordid love affairs and the like, but The Invisible Woman did not entertain me. I enjoyed the scenery, costuming and sets the most and found myself getting lost in that aspect of the film. For me, there were too many things wrong with just the watching of the movie for me to enjoy it – from the boring storyline to the horrible audio – I couldn’t wait for the movie to be over. I may, at some point give it another try, and if I do, and enjoy more the second time, I will definitely amend my initial review.

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