The Invisible Woman (2013)

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Released 3-Sep-2014

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 106:36
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ralph Fiennes
Entertainment One Starring Ralph Fiennes
Felicity Jones
Kristin Scott Thomas
Tom Hollander
Joanna Scanlan
Case ?
RPI ? Music Ilan Eshkeri

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.30:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.30:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

†††† The Invisible Woman starts in 1883 with a woman walking alone along the Margate sands. She is Mrs. Nelly Wharton Robinson (Felicity Jones) and she returns to her home where young students are preparing to perform a play by Charles Dickens and Wilke Collins. The film then goes back about 30 years to when Nelly, her mother Frances Ternan (Kristin Scott Thomas) and her sisters are to appear in the same play, meeting Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) and Wilke (Tom Hollander). Dickens is 45, married to Catherine (Joanna Scanlan) and they have 10 children but Catherine is frumpy, tired and dull (not surprising after 10 children) and the marriage loveless. Nelly is 18 and enamoured of Dickens the writer, while Dickens is drawn to the intelligence of the young woman and he starts to visit the Ternan household, using his influence to help the girls. The morals of Victorian society, and Dickensí public profile which results in him being mobbed when he goes out, result in much gossip and speculation in the press so even after Dickens publically leaves his wife he and Nelly cannot be seen to be together, and she becomes the invisible woman, his mistress, until Dickensí death.

†††† The Invisible Woman is based upon a book of the same name by Claire Tomalin which is itself based on Nelly Ternanís biography. The Invisible Woman is a superior costume drama directed by Fiennes, his follow up to his first directing effort Coriolanus (2011). The film was produced by the BBC: it looks sumptuous (and was nominated for an Oscar for costume design, losing out to The Great Gatsby) and is well scripted and well acted. Felicity Jones is excellent as a girl / woman who a product of Victorian values, disapproving of, for example, the unmarried relationship between Wilke and Caroline Graves, the mother of his child, yet seemingly powerless to limit her attraction for Dickens. Ralph Fiennes is also very good, with only a few Fiennes verbal and physical mannerisms on show: his Dickens is no saint, but a man who, despite a desire to be decent, can be petty and cruel, especially to his wife Catherine, portrayed beautifully by Joanna Scanlan.

†††† The Invisible Woman is a stately film. It is slow in places, with a number of long, almost static sequences with a score from a string ensemble on the soundtrack. It could be ponderous, but mostly is not due to the flashback structure and the performances. As well, the low key approach allows The Invisible Woman to be a revealing look into the life and morals of Victorian society, including the benefits, and costs, of reputation and public celebrity.

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Transfer Quality


†††† The Invisible Woman is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

†††† This is a very dark print. Close-up detail is sharp and while the exterior scenes are bright with natural colours, all interiors such as drawing rooms, halls and places where readings were conducted, are very dark with a predominately brown palate. The clothing of the time was also mainly dark colours and this results in a loss of shadow detail in a number of sequences where I think the SD struggles: reviews I have read of the Blu-ray suggest that the HD handles the dark palate better. Blacks are fine, brightness and contrast consistent and skin tones good.

†††† Other than slight ghosting and aliasing of railings, artefacts and marks are absent.

†††† English subtitles for the hearing impaired were available in a clear white text.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


†††† Audio is a choice of either English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps or English Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps.

†††† This is a low key audio track, suiting a drama which is mainly dialogue, which was clear and centred. The surrounds and rears were used only for music and some ambience such as wind, rain and bird calls. The subwoofer was seldom heard, with mainly music except for the train crash.

†††† The music score by Ilan Eshkeri is an ensemble strings and piano. It was used sparsely, but was effective.

†††† Lip synchronisation fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


†††† Nothing at all, not even a trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

†††† The Region A US Blu-ray of The Invisible Woman comes with an audio commentary with Felicity Jones and Ralph Fiennes, a Q&A (26 min) and Press Conference (21 min) with the same two, a Toronto Premier featurette (17 min) and a trailer. I cannot find any reviews or information about whether the Region 1 DVD also contains these extras, although I guess it might. If so, that is clearly the better version.


The Invisible Woman is a superior costume drama that looks sumptuous and is well scripted and well acted by Felicity Jones, Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas and Joanna Scanlan. The film can be a bit slow at times but ultimately is a well-crafted and interesting look into the life and morals of Victorian society.

†††† The DVD has good video and audio. No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, September 15, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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