Film review: The Invisible Woman

Based on a book by Claire Tomalin, The Invisible Woman charts the fragile relationship between one of the titans of English literature and his muse.

Ralph Fiennes juggles responsibilities behind and in front of the camera, opening in 1885 Margate, where Nelly Robinson (Felicity Jones) is a school teacher with a doting husband (Tom Burke).

Undated Film Still Handout from The Invisible Woman. Pictured: Kristin Scott Thomas, Felicity Jones. See PA Feature FILM  Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Lionsgate. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Undated Film Still Handout from The Invisible Woman. Pictured: Kristin Scott Thomas, Felicity Jones. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Lionsgate. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Mixing in the theatrical circles, Nelly encounters socially awkward writer Charles Dickens (Fiennes), who neglects long-suffering wife, Catherine (Joanna Scanlan).

Dickens’s fascination with Nelly develops into something deeper yet she must lurk in the shadows for fear of tainting his reputation.

This is a well-crafted if emotionally stifled account of doomed love and its manifestation on the pages of Dickens.

Oscar-nominated Fiennes and Jones manage to deliver solid performances but their on-screen chemistry is as muted as the colour palette.

Scanlan is magnificent as the wife, who begs her husband to come to his senses.