Niagara Gazette — With Ternan in his life, Dickens writes “A Tale Of Two Cities,” and “Great Expectations.” The film wants us to think that because of this, she was good for him. But what it doesn’t really explain is the passion that existed between the two. It’s weakest where it should be strongest. This movie about a volatile love affair is remarkably chaste.
As director, Fiennes has made a conscious decision to give respectable Victorian behavior a bit of a whirl. The moments of intimacy are quiet; however, I have a feeling that men of that era didn’t exactly bask in the prudish glow of their conquests. I think they acted out their fantasies.
The refined sensibilities of the Victorian Era demanded that discretion regarding Dickens and Ternan be of paramount concern. Fiennes understands this, but he needed to share his understanding in a fresher and more dramatic way.Michael Calleri reviews films for Night and Day. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.