Our group outing to see “The Invisible Woman” was a great success!. 14 of us made it to the pre-movie brunch at Nickels, where the food was delicious and the company wonderful. 24 of us then met at the old AMC (Cineplex Odeon Forum). Sporting red geraniums on our coat, we ventured downstairs to Theatre #9 to watch the movie. We handed out flyers about the Dickens Fellowship to other viewers before the movie started.
I thought the film itself was excellent for what it was. It was quite true to Claire Tomelin’s book, with only a few historical exceptions, but left out some gaping parts of it, leaving me wanting more of Dickens’ history. For me, although the costumes, settings and acting were excellent, the movie did not quite capture the huge complexity and huge life of Dickens, his difficult struggle with guilt because of the relationship, his depression, his break with his friends, publishers, family. The increasing darkness of his books, the toll on his health, etc.. Also, Claire Tomelin’s research has been somewhat suspect and it was portrayed as truth. As far as I am aware, there is no hard evidence that Nelly was his mistress or that she had a child. Dickens being the first mega pop star ever, has been the target of scandal-mongering to this very day. Modern day scholars (Michael Slater among them) will not commit themselves without proof.
It would be very hard to truly represent the ultra largeness of Dickens life, loves and genius in a film. I think Ralph Fiennes did a great job. It excites me that this movie will put more people in touch with Dickens but it saddens me that those who are not aware of the fuller story of his complex and controversial life will take the plot as fact and look no further, propagating a possibly great mistruth.
Still, we all had a great time and I look forward to further discussion.