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157. Effie Gray; movie review

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Title : 157. Effie Gray; movie review
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Cert 12
104 mins
BBFC advice: Contains moderate sex references

I have to admit I am longing to sit in a cinema and indulge in a packet of M & Ms and a period drama.
Yep, much of what we have taken for granted has disappeared over the past year.
But cinemas are back in May and their re-emergence will surely see the clipped tones and flowing dresses return.
Effie Gray was a movie which I would have enjoyed more on the big screen but still fell for its cross between genteel and brutal while watching at home.
It is based on the true story of the marriage of nineteen-year-old Effie (Dakota Fanning) to esteemed art critic John Ruskin (Greg Wise) who was twice her age.
Ruskin is cold and distant and mollycoddled by his wealthy parents (David Suchet and Julie Walters).
The young Effie is thrilled to be marrying into such a well-known family but it immediately becomes clear that she is not prepared for the monotony of upper-class life.
Her woes are multiplied by her husband being strangely repelled by her sexually and, consequently, refusing to consummate their union.
I am not sure why I didn't see Effie Gray when it was first released in 2014 but I am pleased to have caught with it now.
Fanning has now appeared in more than 50 movies but was already showing great maturity before reaching 20, eliciting empathy from an audience as her character tried to preserve her sanity.
She lured me completely on to Effie's side as she is neglected and shunned by her husband and her health subsides due to the strain of the crumbling relationship.
She is left with two ways out - potentially sully her name with a relationship (she certainly has contenders for her affection) or take a more complicated route.
Meanwhile, Wise plays an impressive dead bat as her cruel husband and his real-life wife, Emma Thompson, the film's writer is splendidly vibrant as Lady Eastlake, an outspoken aristocrat who is on the young bride's side.
And Walters has great fun as the meanest of mothers-in-law.
Effie Gray would not usually be my bag because it is a bit too polite but I warmed to Richard Laxton's picture which captured the sensibilities of the period and benefited from a great cast.
If you didn't see it the first time around, I recommend catching it now.

Reasons to watch: Engaging period drama
Reasons to avoid: Annoying twee at times

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 8/10

Did you know? After her unconsummated marriage to John Ruskin, Effie Gray had eight children with the painter John Millais.

The final word. Dakota Fanning: "It's a story that most people don't know about. It's hard to believe that it is true. You see a very strong woman who has a lot of determination." Daily Motion

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