Decider reviews To Walk Invisible:
While To Walk Invisible offers elements familiar to anyone who consumes a lot of Masterpiece—period costumes, period settings, dreary cinematography—this film seems to be designed primarily for readers who know and love the Brontës. For example, filmmakers built a replica of the parsonage where the Brontës spent most of their lives and surrounded it with a model Haworth, their Yorkshire village, as it would have looked in the mid-nineteenth century. This is the kind of verisimilitude Brontë fans might be expected to crave, and it should appeal to fans of historical drama. One the other hand, there’s much here that would be uninteresting or unintelligible to anyone who isn’t learned in Brontë family lore.Calling Branwell 'parasitic' may be a bit too harsh, though.
ake the opening scene. In this dreamlike sequence, four children—three girls, one boy—wearing haloes of fire run into an empty ballroom where they play with toy soldiers come to life. Anyone schooled in Brontë lore will recognize this as a reference to the imaginary worlds created by the Brontë children, worlds that fueled their pretend play and inspired their earliest stories. It’s hard to know what a viewer lacking this information would make of this weird vignette. But, if we accept that this production is for superfans only, we have to ask: What are the superfans getting? Speaking as a Brontë fanatic, my answer is: Not much.
My beef with To Walk Invisible is right there at the beginning. Branwell, the lone Brontë boy, takes center stage here, and, from this point on, the whole narrative is built around him. The story proper begins when Branwell returns home—to the parsonage where Charlotte, Emily, and Anne still live with their father—after having an affair with his employer’s wife. His physical and mental disintegration descent gives the plot its shape. There’s no question that Branwell played a part in his sisters’ development as authors. He was there when they created their first manuscripts, he’s there in Wuthering Heights as Hindley Earnshaw, and his dissolution runs throughout The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. But I can’t imagine that anyone who comes for the Brontës wants to spend a lot time with Branwell. And, given that an essential element of the Brontë story is that three brilliant women felt compelled to publish under male pseudonyms, it’s especially galling that, in a film ostensibly about them, their lives and their literary careers are subordinate to the decline of their profligate, parasitic brother. [...]
Having said all that, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that the acting here is excellent. Special shout-out for Chloe Pirrie for her portrayal of Emily. Wuthering Heights is my fave, and I believed her not only as the author of that novel but also as the teacher who told her students that she preferred the school dog to any of them. (Brontë superfans will know what I’m talking about.) (Jessica Jernigan)
The Federalist reviews it too and is more understanding of Branwell's role:
The film itself is lovely. It captures the Brontë’s beloved moors, mysterious talent, and moving devotion to each other. The costuming and set are thoughtfully prepared. One could say this film is the perfect foil for Masterpiece’s “Victoria” series, which is basically a nineteenth-century soap opera. The latter proffers palace intrigue, sparkle, and way too much mascara and brow liner for a Victorian-era society. The former, however, is simple, even austere at times, with an attention to detail and historical correctness that make the film shine. [...]Slate has a podcast discussing the production as well.
But Bramwell’s [sic] story is indispensable to his sisters’. When we read about the life of Jane Austen, we’re struck by her fortitude and wit. But we rarely stop to think about the different space she inhabited: the rarity of female writers alive in her world (although there were a few), the societal and financial pressures on an “old maid.” In the Brontë’s case, we must add to this motherlessness the loss of two siblings and the addictive decline of another. They knew their father was growing old, and they needed some method to support themselves. Writing was not just a vocational aspiration, it was a financial necessity.
It’s also worth considering the way in which adversity separates the gold from the dross. The Brontë sisters, inhabiting a trouble-filled world, needed a respite from their hardships. Writing provided that. But they didn’t leave their troubles behind when they wrote: their stories were sharpened and honed by their hardships. Jane Eyre’s quiet plight has appealed to many women with unhappy childhoods, because—at least in this sense—she is real, less paper and pen than flesh and blood.
Perhaps the film is meant to offer commentary on gender roles and conceptions of privilege in the Brontë’s world. Bramwell had every opportunity for success, but wasted each chance he was given. The Brontë sisters had few opportunities to hone a successful career, yet used each one to optimum effect and crafted opportunities where none existed.
But I don’t think Wainwright is pigeonholing the Brontë sisters (or their world) by making it a feminist object lesson. Indeed, their aging father, while bewildered and surprised when he discovers their fame, is also excited by and encouraging of their success. After the sisters’ publisher overcomes his initial shock at the fact that the “Bell brothers” whose work he’s been publishing are actually the Brontë sisters, he is overjoyed to meet them in person, and insists on introducing them London’s intellectual stars.
The series suggests that the sisters’ initial use of pseudonyms, while partially inspired by their desire to succeed in the “man’s world” of publishing, was also part of their effort not to shame their brother, who never succeeded in his artistic enterprises.
Thus, love for Bramwell animates the series, giving depth to the sisters’ writing and personal travails. In one particularly moving scene, they take Bramwell back into their arms, and lives, at his very worst and lowest. At least in this story, the siblings of the prodigal always proffer an open door, no matter the cost. (Gracy Olmstead)
Observer and many others report on the National Portrait Gallery’s fourth Portrait Gala, which included the Duchess of Cambridge among its guests.
The black tie soirée served to raise funds for the Gallery’s upcoming shows. This includes “Coming Home,” a program focused on returning portraits of important figures back to locations that are specific to them, for a loan period of three years. For example, a painting of David Beckham will make a journey to Essex, while a portrait of the Brontë sisters will momentarily reside in Yorkshire.Scotsman reviews Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore and we think that a reread of Jane Eyre is in order for the reviewer.
But it is also a Gothic novel – suitably since the 1790s were the heyday of the genre – and one which acknowledges and plays off its fictional predecessors. The ruthlessly ambitious but doomed Diner, tormented by unacknowledged guilt, is Dunmore’s Heathcliff. The pervasive influence of the mysterious first wife echoes Jane Eyre and even more powerfully Rebecca. Indeed, in its assurance, rapidity and narrative zest, Birdcage Walk might be a Daphne Du Maurier novel. Like Du Maurier, Dunmore has the ability to evoke a sense of place and to write passages of thrilling and disturbing action – a tremendous voyage in a boat rowed by Diner on a turbulent winter river, for instance. But Lizzie is a fully rounded, intelligent and capable character unlike the pallid second Mrs de Winter, and therefore more interesting, while Diner is complete in a way that Max de Winter surely wasn’t. Still, Du Maurier would have appreciated the darkness of his character while it is evidence of Dunmore’s skill and understanding that she takes this harsh, monomaniacal Gothic-Romantic hero-villain and presents him straight without sentimentalising him as, for instance, Charlotte Brontë sentimentalised Mr Rochester. But then Lizzie, through whose eyes we know him, isn’t a timid mouse like Jane Eyre, but a self-reliant and thoroughly admirable young woman. (Allan Massie)Jane Eyre--a 'timid mouse' instead of 'a self-reliant and thoroughly admirable young woman'?
Female First has writer Suellen Dainty pick her 'Top Ten Most Intriguing Couples In Fiction' among which are
Cathy and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Miscommunication, destructive jealousy, overwhelming desire and final tragedy. Did I miss anything here? [...]We are glad to see her describing Jane precisely as 'self-reliant'.
Jane and Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Not many laughs here, but a wonderful story of a plain unconventional heroine who is strong, self-reliant and would rather remain on her own if she cannot marry for love. Happily, she does just that at the end.
Le Bleu du Miroir (France) reviews the film The Young Lady and finds it reminiscent of Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights.
Elle qui rêve de grand air, de longues promenades sur la lande (le Wuthering Heights d’Andrea Arnold n’est jamais très loin) et d’abandon absolu se heurte à des conventions qui l’enserrent et la tourmentent. (Céline Bourdin) (Translation)W Magazine reviews Karen Elson's new album, Double Roses.
. . . title track “Double Roses” channels the mystical inclinations of Kate Bush twirling her way through “Wuthering Heights.” (Katherine Cusumano)The Telegraph and Argus announces that Reverend Peter Mullins has now been appointed as new rector for Haworth.
The Reverend Peter Mullins, who has been the rector of Great and Little Coates with Bradley, in Grimsby, for the last 17 years, is replacing the Rev Peter Mayo-Smith who left early this year.Dymocks (Australia) has released its traditional list of the favourite 101 books of Australian readers. There's only a Brontë book on it: Jane Eyre, number 72. Mark David Major posts about Jane Eyre while Fairy Powered Productions reviews the stage production of the novel which passed through York while on tour. Literateur interviews poet Rebecca Watts, and mentions the fact that her new poetry collection, The Met Office Advises Caution includes a poem called Brontë. Radio Times has an article on 'Which Brontë sister wrote which book?' Visit Lancashire lists Brontë-related places to visit around the county, though it seems to forget about Elizabeth Gaskell's house in Manchester.
The Rev Mullins, 57, who is coming to Haworth with his award-winning textile artist wife Deborah, said: “We are hugely looking forward to coming to live in Haworth and working alongside the voluntary clergy and lay leaders in the churches there and at Cross Roads and Stanbury.
"It will be an exciting final stage of my ministry, spending it among the large number who come to seek out the Bronte heritage, as well as among those who need committed Christian communities to make a real difference to lives locally.” (Miran Rahman)