(director: Ralph Fiennes; screenwriters: bio by Claire Tomalin/Abi Morgan; cinematographer: Rob Hardy; editor: Nicolas Gaster; music: Ilan Eshan; cast: Felicity Jones (Nelly Ternan), Ralph Fiennes (Charles Dickens), Kristin Scott Thomas (Mrs. Ternan), Joanna Scanlan (Catherine Dickens), Tom Hollander(Wilkie Collins), Michael Hadley (Sir Peter), David Collins (Governor), Perdita Weeks (Maria Ternan), Tom Atwood (Lambourne), Claire Daly (Mrs. Lambourne), Amanda Hale(Fanny Ternan), Tom Burke (George Wharton Robinson), John Kavanaugh (Rev. William Benham), Michael Marcus (Charley Dickens), Michelle Fairley (Caroline Graves); Runtime: 111; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Gabrielle Tana, Stewart Mackinnon, Christian Baute, Carolyn Blackwood, Sharon Harel, Maya Amsellem, Eve Schoukroun, Stefano Ferrari, Christine Langan, Jamie Laurenson; Sony Pictures Classics; 2013)

“An elegantly staged British costume drama from the Victorian Age that however failed to move me.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An elegantly staged British costume drama from the Victorian Age that however failed to move me. British actor turned director Ralph Fiennes (“Coriolanus“) stars and directs it. It’s adapted by Abi Morgan, and based on the 1990 biography by Claire Tomalin. The drama tells of the illicit love affair started in 1857 between the middle-aged author Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes), married and with 10 children, and the 18-year-old actress Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), someone who was 28 years his junior. It lasted for thirteen years until his death in 1870. More concerned with the mores of the Victorian times in England than any intimacies, the drama strikes out at the hypocritical sexism of the period and tells us that sexual freedom for women has come a long way from those dark times.Kristin Scott Thomas plays the untalented actresses’ protective theatrical family mother. Joanna Scanlan plays the patient wife of the famous writer. Tom Burke plays the headmaster of the local school, who would marry in 1870 the long-suffering Nelly-now a teacher in the rural school.