AVS Forum banner

1 - 2 of 2 Posts

Blu-ray Reviewer
14,950 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Sony Classic Pictures - 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 111 minutes
Genre: Drama/Biography

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English/Portuguese DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Tom Hollander, Kristin Scott Thomas
Directed by: Ralph Fiennes
Music by: Ilan Eshkeri
Written by: Abi Morgan based on the book by Claire Tomalin
Region Code: A,B

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 15, 2014
"His greatest story was the one he could never tell"

Film Synopsis:

Nelly (Felicity Jones) is haunted by her past. Her memories take us back in time to follow the story of her exciting but fragile relationship with Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes). Dickens – famous and unendingly sought after – falls for Nelly. As Nelly becomes the focus of Dickens’ passion and his muse, for both of them secrecy is the price, and, for Nelly, a life of “invisibility”.

My Take:

Nelly, a happily-married mother and schoolteacher, is haunted by her past. Her memories, provoked by remorse and guilt, take us back in time to follow the story of her relationship with Charles Dickens with whom at the age of 18 she discovered an exciting but fragile complicity. Dickens – married, controlling and emotionally isolated within his success – Nelly, who comes from a family of actors, is drawn to Dickens and he to her. The theatre is a vital arena for Dickens - a brilliant amateur actor - a man more emotionally coherent on the page or on stage, than in life. As Nelly becomes the focus of Dickens' passion secrecy must be their hope of avoiding scandal. Nelly, once a promising young actress now finds herself living a life of “invisibility” and emotional pain.

Based on the book by Claire Tomalin The invisible woman tells the story of Charles Dickens and Ellen “Nelly” Ternan who met in 1857, when she was 18: a professional actress, and he was 45, a literary legend, a national treasure, and married with ten children. There meeting sparked a love affair that lasted over a decade, destroying Dickens's marriage and ending with Nelly's near-disappearance from the public record. This biographical drama tells their story in an attempt to pull Nelly from obscurity, hopefully returning the neglected actress to her rightful place in history while presenting a compelling and truthful account of the great Victorian novelist. This is a deliberately paced film that paints a portrait of a singular woman. Clearly intended to provide a fly on the wall perspective the subject matter is compelling however at times the narrative flow bogs down.

Not knowing much about Dickens let alone Nelly Ternan I found The invisible woman to be enlightening, well enacted and respectfully vivid in its telling. As a dramatic film its sluggish pace imparts a denseness that occasionally obscures focus but looking past that there is tangibility at the heart of story. I enjoyed the performances especially that of Felicity Jones and Ralph Fiennes does a great job both in front of and behind the camera. I have to say that The invisible woman probably isn’t a film for everyone. For those that like period dramas and or find interest in this particular subject it’s certainly worth seeing.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for some sexual content and thematic material.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 80

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency effects:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:

  • *Low frequency extension (non-rated element): NA

Video: 88

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

The invisible woman comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3 Mbps.

This is a solid high definition video presentation from Sony that offers excellent image quality. This is a predominantly dark film that contains many sequences shot in low lit environs and natural lighting. While there is some loss of visibility in dark backgrounds contrast and brightness levels aren’t overdriven and work in tandem to preserve detail in dark and light elements onscreen. The applied filtering and cinematography have an effect on perceived resolution however images onscreen appear lucid and sharp. Close ups reveal lots of fine detail in the faces, hair and clothing worn by the cast members. The color palette is deliberately held to primary use of black, grays, whites, soft browns and pale blues intended to replicate the time period depicted in the story. Colors are rendered well with realistic depth and delineation. The overall quality of the video is high and didn’t reveal any noticeable anomalies/artifacts.

This is primarily a dialogue driven film however there are elements in the film that require use of the entire system so its ability to clearly render them is essential. Dialogue is reproduced with lucid texture however it is mixed a bit too low with the front soundstage which at times requires an increase in volume. This impacts overall balance when the accompanying the music score comes into play as a decrease in volume is required. Otherwise the surround mix effectively utilizes the platform to recreate the acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. There is a rather jarring sequence involving a derailed train that is sure to wake you up should you be dozing during the third act. This is fair albeit occasionally uneven audio presentation that predominantly compliments the source material.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary with Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones

  • (HD) On the red carpet at the Toronto Film Festival – 16 minutes

  • (HD) SAG Q&A with Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones (December 2013) – 26 minutes

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer

  • Bonus DVD

Final Thoughts:

Based on the book by Claire Tomalin The invisible woman is a biographical drama that tells a compelling and truthful account of the great Victorian novelist Charles Dickens and the young actress that stole his heart but gave up so much in return. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring a solid high definition presentation and a fair supplemental package that includes lots of insights from Director/star Ralph Fiennes and co-start Felicity Jones. As I indicated earlier The invisible woman probably isn’t a film for everyone but for those that like period dramas and or find interest in its particular subject, it’s certainly worth a viewing.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector

(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal )

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System

Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)

Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

2,302 Posts
Damnit. I saw the title of this and had high hopes that the Lily Tomlin classic had finally been released to Blu Ray.

This looks interesting though.

Thanks Ralph for the review.
1 - 2 of 2 Posts