Synopsis: Biopic about a young actress Nelly who became Victorian author Charles Dickens' secret mistress and then struggles to find her identity after he has died.
Stan's thoughts: Ralph Fiennes both directs and stars as Charles Dickens in what is a quietly atmospheric and tender story. I normally prefer him when he is playing out and out villains (Voldemort in Harry Potter and Harry in In Bruges are two particular favourites) as he has an aloofness in his performance style that I think is more suited to baddies.
But in this he surprised me. OK so Dickens doesn't come across particularly well and so he shouldn't, he was a little bit of a villain in his own life story, treating his wife abominably. However there is a tenderness and poetry to his performance that both serves to show his love for Nelly but also why she fell for him and risked her reputation to be with him.
Felicity Jones gives a beautifully subtle performance that had me quietly weeping and it is also a delight to see the likes of Tom Hollander and Tom Burke on the big screen.
Kristen Scott Thomas makes a rare appearance in a British film as Nelly's mother. And while she isn't necessarily a frumpy mother it does make you understand why she chooses to work more in France where the characters she is given are far less stereotypical for an actress her age and far, far sexier.
A solid and moving costume drama.
- Stan's: 68%
- IMDB: 67%
- Metascore: 75%
- Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
- RT audience rating: 53%