The Invisible Woman

The Invisible Woman

★★★★

(directed by Ralph Fiennes, 2014)

My goodness, it’s been a while! Work has been keeping me busy and it’s been hard to find the time to devote to blog posts. However, I simply have to write a few words about this film, which I actually saw a couple of weeks ago, before I forget the finer details. The Invisible Woman tells the story of Charles Dickens’s well-known love affair with the young actress Ellen (Nelly) Ternan. Based on Claire Tomalin’s book, the film looks at the development of the relationship through Nelly’s eyes, giving the romance even more interesting layers and ethical grey areas than it might otherwise have had. It manages to be thoughtful, intelligent and refreshingly different from your average Victorian bonnets-and-bustles drama, while still revelling in period colour and costume.

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Coriolanus: William Shakespeare

Coriolanus: William Shakespeare

(directed by Ralph Fiennes, 2011)

This was one of the many films I missed in the cinema, but I remember the critical acclaim that greeted its release in the UK last year. Last night I finally settled down to watch it; and what a treat it was. Fiennes’s directorial debut brings the action right up to date, telling the story with handheld cameras and news reports alongside more traditional techniques (the British newsreader Jon Snow has a cameo as the Fidelis TV presenter). Almost without exception, the excellent cast handle Shakespeare’s language with such ease that it feels almost like normal speech, and the story is presented with such clarity that (not knowing this play at all), I was completely gripped.

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The Tempest (1611): William Shakespeare

ARTS THEATER

★★★

(Theatre Royal, Haymarket, 27 August – 29 October 2011)

I wanted so badly to enjoy this play, which I booked after seeing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern at the same venue. It was the final treat of my summer holiday.  I looked forward to seeing another production directed by Trevor Nunn; and I couldn’t wait to see Ralph Fiennes on stage again.  When I saw him in Oedipus, at the National Theatre in 2008, his performance was raw, haunting, and stayed with me for days.  I was sure that The Tempest would be a tour de force; but I’m sorry to say it fell short of expectations.

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