The Invisible Women Movie Review: WTF DID I JUST WATCH?
This post is very much not a typical post I would have here but my goal is always to be transparent. When I see or experience something I like, love or enjoy, I want to share it. That goes the same for things I strongly dislike. So here goes...
I wanted to create a blog called "WHAT THE F* DID I JUST WATCH?" but since I already have a blog, or two or three, I figured I'd incorporate the subject of "WHAT THE F* DID I JUST WATCH?" here, whenever the mood strikes. As always these are my opinions and I urge everyone to draw their own conclusions on all of life. I do not ever look at movie ratings because I know that what is in my own mind and heart may not be in the mind and heart of others, so what is the point? However, if you found yourself wondering, WTF DID I JUST WATCH? Feel free to hope on over here and see if we share the same confusion or dislike. If I didn't yet review the movie (or two) that left you feeling as if you wasted a few hours of your life trying to make sense of, or enjoy but it just didn't do it for you; feel free to leave said movies in the comments for me to watch and review at a later date. Come on, it'll be fun! Since this is a completely new concept for my blog, this is the first movie I am actually reviewing.
A little background on the kind of movies I enjoy, classic cheesy comedies are my number one, think Spaceballs. Fictional movies like Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, the Labyrinthine, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, I could watch every single day. Being transported into a different universe is WHERE IT IS AT, in my humble opinion. I find comfort in old classic movies, think Audrey Hepburn. Anything James McAvoy, Gary Oldmen, Bruce Willis, Scarlett Johansson and Anne Hathaway, I'm not to saying everything they touch is gold, but count me in. Anything based on a true story, I'M IN IT! I am also a sucker for romance movies. There are few things better than curling up with the one you love... or the snacks you love, while you watch the story of love unfold. I love love. I love logic defying love. I love everyday practical love. I love all love, as long as that is what it is, LOVE. If you show me a movie that is trying to portray a love story but completely missing the mark... INSERT MASSIVE EYE ROLL HERE. So the other day I did a quick search for "best true story romantic movies".
The "Best True Story Romantic Movies" showed some true love stories that really embodied my idea of LOVE, like Becoming Jane (anything James McAvoy is instantly a favorite of mine) and The Notebook (I had no idea the book was based on a true story). So we read through some of the other descriptions and decided on The Invisible Women. Ralph Fiennes plays Charles Dickens and he is fantastic at portraying the selfishness and eccentric behavior Charles Dickens. There is no doubt that he is an excellent actor... you've seen him as Voldemort in Harry Potter and Hades in Wrath of the Titans and Clash of the Titans as well as many other films. Whatever roll he plays, I believe it. While he played Charles Dickens, he was also the director and perhaps this is where the problem lies.
There were many gaps in the story line that maybe a "historian" on Charles Dickens' life could answer. Unfortunately for me, I am a lay person and therefore I was left with many unanswered questions. I was left feeling empty from this story with a bad taste in my mouth for the selfish, narcissist that Charles Dickens was.
Here are a list of questions that I can't seem to shake...
Why is Nelly always walking on the beach? Is that symbolic? Why was there so much emphasis on "the beach"? And why is she always in a hurry? Obviously her husband didn't care what she was up to so I see no reason for the rushing around.
Why did it take so long for the "love story" of Nelly and Charles to develop in the movie? To never show love between them but instead to show a young women being kept in a house isolated from everyone as his mistress.
Why did Nelly confide in a stranger about her love affair before ever telling her husband? Why didn't her husband care to know what had been plaguing her since day one? Maybe work through those issues before marriage and children. I don't know, just a suggestion.
Why were all the kids in the beginning of the movie calling Nelly "mom" or "mum"? How many kids did Nelly and her husband actually have?
What exactly did Charles Dickens have boarded up when his wife found out about Nelly? Did he lock her in her room or board up the window in between their rooms? Big difference, kind of a key part of the story that wasn't explained very well.
Did Nelly love Charles or was she infatuated with him because of his work? Or did she feel she had no other opinions? I truly could not understand why Nelly would be with Charles after seeing how cold and callous he was about making his wife deliver Nelly her birthday present. How did he have the nerve to come parading in during the next scene? If he didn't care about his wife (who he must have cared about at least 7 times since they had 7 kids ranging from about 3-19) he was SUPPOSED to care about Nelly. How selfish and traumatizing that entire situation must have been for not only his wife (who he decided was no longer good enough because she didn't like to party? Really? Or because she no longer found amusement in his egotistical madness? So typical, still today.). But also traumatizing for Nelly.
How many other mistresses did Charles have? It's clear that he was too suave, cunning, well thought out, comfortable and eager to jump in with Nelly for it being his first rodeo. Maybe if I wasn't looking for a romance story, and instead just a very small glimpse into Charles Dickens' love afraid with a women half his age, that he kept a secret for 13 years and treated like garbage once he won over her affections, maybe then I would have enjoyed this movie.
One final question to wrap this blog post up: Are we still teaching children and reinforcing in adults that this sort of behavior is "love"? I hope it is clear when I say, it is not. This was not a love story, nor was it any indication of "romance". What it was, was the story of the sad life of Nelly, a child taken advantage of. If this was not the case, this movie did a truly poor job of convincing me otherwise.