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Effie Gray


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

Actors: Emma Thompson , Dakota Fanning , Tom Sturridge , Robbie Coltrane , Julie Walters , Derek Jacobi , Claudia Cardinale , David Suchet , James Fox , Greg Wise , Polly Dartford
Directors: Richard Laxton
Country: UK
Release: 2014-10-10
More Info:
  • Matt Brennan

    It spins the narrative of one of the Victorian art world's most mysterious marriages into a study of life lived and life merely examined, a fecund fairy tale in reverse.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Effie Gray is peculiarly compelling, even if the issue of sexual repression, all the Victorian manners, seem light-years gone and close to unfathomable.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Thomas Lee

    The film spends an excessive amount of time on Ruskin’s psychological abuse of his wife, which makes Effie’s eventual redemption feel rushed and out of the blue. But Thompson has once again proved herself to be a talented wordsmith, imbuing Effie with generosity of spirit and intelligence.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Inkoo Kang

    Laxton’s measured pace appropriately parallels the slow stifling that Effie undergoes, but he extends his muted approach too far, depriving the film of the emotional crescendo it badly needs.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    Effie Gray is fortunate to have enough strong performances by Fanning, Thompson and top-flight costars (including cameos by James Fox, Robbie Coltrane, Derek Jacobi and even Claudia Cardinale) to eventually overcome the doldrums of decorum and create the feeling we've been needing.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Wise, who is noticeably older than the 29-year-old Ruskin was at the time the events occurred in real life, gives a tense, implacable performance, and Fanning is touching. The movie, however, directed by Richard Laxton, could use a lot more oomph.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Stephanie Merry

    Laxton knows how to get the audience down but hasn’t quite mastered the art of lifting them back up.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Dan Callahan

    As Ruskin, Thompson’s real-life husband Greg Wise looks exactly like surviving photographs of the man he is playing: handsome, gloomy, lofty, and a little blank and bland. Full Review
  • Peter Keough

    Though programmatic in its plotting, “Effie” does aspire to obliqueness in its imagery. In “Mr. Turner,” Leigh evokes the painter of the title in the film’s stunning visuals. In “Effie,” the pseudo-medieval lushness and literalness of the Pre-Raphaelites permeates much of cinematography by Andrew Dunn.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Farran Smith Nehme

    Intrigue doesn’t begin until the last third of the movie, which is by far the best part. The Victorian melodrama in Effie Gray works better than the Victorian suffering.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    Fanning’s controlled presence is ideal for a tale of Victorian repression. But as the film becomes one of quiet liberation, it needs more than her cool reserve. It needs passion — even if it’s of the slow-boiling kind — and I’m not sure that’s there.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Barbara VanDenburgh

    The film itself begins to feel like Gray, a pretty bird in a gilded cage with nowhere to fly.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Peter Bradshaw

    It’s a little hammy and soapy, with an occasional Pythonesque sense of its own importance but this film, directed by Richard Laxton, is performed with gusto.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Tim Robey

    There are clever and sensitive touches right through, and a moving ending. But Fanning seems wholly uncomfortable, and not always intentionally.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • Cath Clarke

    It’s a thoughtful, well-acted and perceptive drama. However, for a film about a love triangle the sparks don’t exactly fly.

    Time Out London Full Review
  • Josh Winning

    Richard Laxton’s painterly film combines the gothic shadows of Hitchcock’s Rebecca with the gut-wrenching romance of A Royal Affair. The result is dark and offbeat, but as a murky anti-romance, Gray is undeniably effective.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Jeff Baker

    The movie is slow, dreary, clumsily staged, and lacks a compelling lead.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    The cinematic equivalent of a Brazilian wax, the movie omits much of the story’s most interesting material to create something that’s been smoothly denatured.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Connie Ogle

    This period piece, directed by Richard Laxton, is shot in such a grim and grainy fashion you long to turn on the lights — which is fitting, because you also wish the filmmakers had illuminated the characters a bit more clearly.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Jesse Hassenger

    On a purely technical level, Effie Gray is fine, if uninspired, with its washed-out color, attention to detail, and lack of heavy-handed moralizing. As an experience, though, it’s a drag without much reward.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Mike D'Angelo

    Thompson makes Ruskin such a cardboard villain, playing on stereotypes of the cold, stuffy intellectual, that she turns Gray’s story into a tastefully dreary domestic-prison saga.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    Written by Emma Thompson, it’s literate and respectful, but a dose of lithium in a champagne glass that is too stolid to ever come alive.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Whatever “it” is, that spark that film actresses and actors have that makes them interesting and empathetic and anything else on the screen, Fanning doesn’t have it.

    Movie Nation Full Review
  • Guy Lodge

    This admirable, watercolor-delicate tale of individual feminist emancipation never quite blooms into living color, hampered by spotty casting and Richard Laxton’s overly deliberate direction.

    Variety Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    You can feel the good intentions vibrating off the screen, but it's still a listless affair, one that takes forever to go almost nowhere. The picture struggles so valiantly to be a woman's empowerment fable that it leaves you wishing for just a little romance.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • David Ehrlich

    So while the film clearly wants to be an affirmation of female agency, it plays instead like nothing more than the story of a girl who marries an ogre and waits to be freed by true love’s kiss.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Stephen Dalton

    Effie Gray is an exquisitely dreary slice of middlebrow armchair theater which adds little new to a much-filmed story.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Angie Errigo

    Handsome, well-mounted but dull, dull, dull.

    Empire Full Review
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