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Effie Gray (2014)

 -  Drama  -  2015 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 118 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 7 critic

A look at the mysterious relationship between Victorian art critic John Ruskin and his teenage bride Effie Gray.



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In theaters 2015.

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Credited cast:
Margaret Cox Ruskin
Travers Twiss
Mr. Ruskin
Times Journalist


Based on the real-life scandal that shocked Victorian-era England, the film tells the story of Euphemia "Effie" Gray. At 19, she married the prominent art historian and critic John Ruskin, but Ruskin refused to consummate their marriage. Lonely and frustrated Effie is drawn to pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais, and finds a friend and champion in Lady Elizabeth Eastlake. After five years trapped in a loveless marriage, Effie will defy the rules of Victorian society... Written by L. Hamre

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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Release Date:

2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Effie  »

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The real Effie Gray was from Perth, Scotland. However, the film opted for an all English accent cast. See more »


The movie poster shows Fanning as Effie superimposed over Millais's painting "Ophelia," implying that Effie was the model. She wasn't; Elizabeth (Lizzie) Siddal was the model for Ophelia. (Lizzie was Gabriel Rossetti's wife and their story is as scandalous as the Ruskins'.) See more »

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User Reviews

Sadness overcome by strength
25 October 2014 | by (Netherlands) – See all my reviews

"Effie" is about to get married to the famous author/art critic John Ruskin. The event is full of anticipation. She's in love, content with the realization that marriage is a great achievement (in her world) and naive. As soon as she enters her new home, happiness and feelings of accomplishment disappear.

Though the heroine is mainly sad, it's a different emotion compared to Mme Bovary or Portrait of a Lady. All three women are trapped in an unhappy marriage but Effie isn't a disillusioned house wife or manipulated heiress. She's a young woman who only slowly starts to comprehend her situation. Initially, she tries to figure out why she feels unwelcome. After the people around her keep pointing out that she's inadequate, she starts to believe that she is and starts blaming herself. Due to her inexperience and without a friend for sharing her questions, she's not able to acknowledge that her life is "unnatural" and by the time that she recognizes that something is really wrong, she is too mentally abused … but she endures.

Ruskin and his parents made me feel angry. I wish it was because they were bad but they are actually stiflingly loving and blindly unaware of their coldness. I wanted to shake some sense in them. When Effie finally starts a divorce, my romantically polluted film mind wanted to see a glorious moment. It's kept small and shared the complexity of feelings. Yes, she was desperate and brave but I suspect that her real life it wasn't a simple emotion that drove her to this decision. It was well depicted as a necessity. Even though, it doesn't lower my respect for this lady in Victorian British Society who claimed her right as a human being.

Dakota Fanning has an interesting mixture of serenity and intensity. It served her well as Jane (in Twilight Saga) but gave her vulnerability in this role an edge. Greg Wise handsome appearance makes is hard to believe that he's terrible man and causes the right confusion. Greg Sturrage could be less nice and could show more passion but still nice to see him after Vanity Fair. And what can I write about the creme of UK actors; Julie Walters, David Suchet, Emma Thompson, James Fox, Derek Jacobi, Robbie Coltrane, other than superb as usual. I loved to see Claudia Cardinale, powerful in her grace of age. The costumes are good, not as lush as in other productions for this time period but then if you ever seen real dresses from that time, they usually are a not that refined. The scenery highlights contrast; crowded London, narrow home life and wide Scottish Highlands. I especially loved the very beautiful shots of Venice.

One day I will watch it again on blue ray because the scenes deserve high quality images. I hope that I will be as moved and angry as I was in the cinema. Well Done Effie, Well Done Emma … Thank you for this emotional experience which gave me a couple of life pointers to think about.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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