Matthew Lickona 2:02 p.m., Sept. 23
The Invisible Woman
A showcase from director-star Ralph Fiennes, he of the fierce visage and pleading eyes. First, it is a visual marvel — the framing is now theatrical, now unobtrusive, but always masterful and appropriate. Second, it is a triumph of characterization. Nobody makes speeches; nobody has to. Fiennes plays Charles Dickens, the James Franco of his time — writer, director, actor, thinker, celebrity, activist, you name it. The sort who could pull in a crowd just to hear him read from his own work. But despite the opinion of this story's Mrs. Dickens, he was not simply a maker of entertainments; there was blood on the page and passion in his loins. Which brings us to The Invisible Woman's tertiary virtue: the story of how a Great Man wooed a young mistress against the backdrop of Victorian mores and his own family. Felicity Jones ably portrays the mistress through both the seduction and the haunted aftermath. 2014.