Ralph Fiennes, 2013

Lionsgate

In his second film as director, Ralph Fiennes plays Charles Dickens as a showman, a lover of theatre and parties. But his frumpy wife (Joanna Scanlan) is sidelined by the author’s affair with 18-year-old actress Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones). Both women are “invisible”; as Mrs D warns Nelly, “You must share him with his public.” Basing his film on Claire Tomalin’s biography, Fiennes makes an excellent Dickens, and a muted palette evokes the stuffiness of Victorian times. A laudable offering that seeks to rise above the usual period drama template.

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