As another chapter in the evolving period genre, Effie Gray combines the best of Merchant Ivory with the claustrophobia of a modern domestic thriller. Though the film is separated from Gone Girl by time, place, and focus, that same tightening screw of a failing marriage is the perfect backdrop to explore the life of Euphemia “Effie” Gray, who married famous art critic John Ruskin at the age of nineteen, only for the marriage to spectacularly collapse in on itself.
Written by and co-starring Emma Thompson, the life of Dakota Fanning’s Effie is a medium through which to explore the stifling effects of Victorian – and to some extent modern – patriarchy, side-stepping the trappings of a love triangle to focus on the mental and physical plight of a loveless life.
Stunningly shot and confidently acted, this sometimes sombre, always enjoyable drama educates and entertains in equal measure, pushing life ahead of art and chastising the Victorian society of manners in all its gory glory.
CAST: Dakota Fanning, Emma Thompson, Greg Wise, Tom Sturridge, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters, David Suchet, Derek Jacobi, James Fox
DIRECTOR: Richard Laxton
WRITERS: Emma Thompson
SYNOPSIS: Married to famous art critic John Ruskin as a teenager, Effie Gray finds herself stuck in an unconsumated marriage and falling in love with her husband’s protege, talented young painter John Everett Millais.