In theatres this Friday from writer Emma Thompson, director Richard Laxton and Adopt Films comes a look at the life of a young EFFIE GRAY.
This film tells the story of Euphemia ‘Effie’ Gray (Dakota Fanning), a young woman in the Victorian era who marries John Ruskin (Greg Wise), a renowned art critic. Living with John’s parents, Effie has a difficult time adjusting to married life as John’s mother Margaret (Julie Walters) doesn’t like Effie.
Ruskin begins to treat Effie with mental neglect and a mysterious illness strikes her in such a way that others become suspicious. Attempting to get well, she also regains a strength that would be needed to change her sad life.
Trying to find her place in this world of secrets and lies, Effie meets Lady Eastlake (Emma Thompson) and shares the details of her life with Ruskin. Horrified that Effie is being treated poorly, Eastlake takes it upon herself to find a way to save the young woman.
But it will be Effie who decides that her life is worth every moment she can live it!
FINAL WORD: Fanning as Effie is such a dark and sad character. Believing she found happiness, it would all turn so very quickly. Confused about what she had done wrong, it is clear she didn’t know the rules of the Victorian era’s game. This is a quiet character that is introspective and lonely. It would be discovering that happiness isn’t elusive to drive her to stand up for her own self.
Walters as Margaret is a bitter and frightening woman. There is a sadistic presence about her towards Effie and at the same time an over protective “stage” mother who wasn’t going to let anyone, not even Effie, get in the way of the relationship she had with son John.
Wise as Ruskin is a character filled with a heartlessness whose words toward Effie are meant to keep her down and quiet. Wise gives his performance the stiffness and sense of detachment that matches the character of his film parents.
Thompson as Lady Eastlake is stunning to watch, I truly wished her character had a deeper presence in the film. I enjoy her performances and in EFFIE GRAY she just isn’t in the film enough!
Other cast include: Russell Tovey as George, Claudia Cardinale as Viscountess, Derek Jacobi as Travers Twiss, Robbie Coltrain as the Doctor, James Fox as Sir Charles Eastlake, tom Sturridge as Everett Millais, David Suchet as Mr. Ruskin, Riccardo Scamarcio as Rafael, and Linda Basset as Anna.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give EFFIE GRAY three tubs of popcorn out of five. I enjoyed the idea of the story but felt as if I wasn’t totally in it. The sets were beautiful and the costuming stunning however, it is not enough to keep my attention consistently throughout the film.
There was so much more that these characters Thompson created could have shared. I wanted to know more about Effie herself really. The Ruskins were just horrid people so I can bypass them in a way but in Effie’s silence was another story just right there on the edge waiting to be told.
Effie Gray was born in Perth, Scotland and the story of her life is really fascinating. A woman who takes it upon herself to forego what was accepted in society to find happiness that seems to have lasted her entire life.
In the end – the life of Effie Gray will begin again!