In the The Invisible Woman, which bows as a TIFF special presentation on Monday evening, the extramarital romance between Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) and actress Ellen Ternan (Felicity Jones) does not play out with full throttle passion.
Rather, the growing tenderness and affection between them is handled gingerly – which may or may not reflect the Victorian period in which the film is set.
As director and star, Fiennes explained Saturday in an interview at the Intercontinental Hotel that the decision did not come without some deliberation.
"I think, in fact, an earlier draft leaned towards [passion] and I didn't buy it – I didn't believe it – or certainly I felt it had too many cogs that signaled a love story. And I wanted to see if I could tell a story of how people fall in love. I think it is in increments. You learn about someone and there are real things in that you go, 'Oh, this is you,' and to me, that's more believable than when the eyes lock."
Of course, this was coming from someone who just so happens to have exceptionally warm blue eyes.