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
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 »
Once, a beautiful young girl lived in a very cold house in Scotland. The house was cold because someone's grandfather killed himself there. One day, the grandson came to visit the house. He thought the beautiful girl was an angel came down to Earth. The grandson worked very hard. He read and thought and drew and wrote. He wrote a fairy story just for her. She was twelve years old. His mother and father were kind, but his were wicked. When she grew up, he married her.
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This is a film treated with the delicacy that the real circumstances must have required. Effie Gray, based on the true story of a teenager who marries John Ruskin (grown man and well-known author), comes to realize that she and her husband have varying expectations of marriage. She slowly begins to fade away as she makes all appearances of following the rules of her new, married life.
The movie is well-paced, quiet, and stylistically appropriate. Dakota Fanning does a wonderful job of portraying Effie's quiet despair, and you do forget that she is an American actor (her accent is good). Derek Jacobi makes a guest turn, towards the end, and, It's always a pleasure to see Emma Thompson in anything, let alone in a vehicle for a screenplay that she has written.
Well worth seeing.
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