Review By Monique Thompson
A look at the scandalous love triangle between Victorian art critic John Ruskin, his teenage bride Effie Gray, and Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais.
Effie Gray is a 2015 bio-drama about the real life romance, or lack thereof, between teenage Scottish bride Effie (Fanning) and her much older husband John Ruskin (Wise). Married off at the young age of 19, Effie moves in with John and his parents and is unclear as to what it means to actually be a married couple, so much say that she refers to her husband as Mr. Ruskin.
Shortly after their nuptials, John’s mother advises Effie that she needs to leave John alone and let him focus on his career as a well-known writer and art critic. It’s doesn’t take John’s over-bearing and controlling parents long to leave a very bitter taste in Effie’s mouth. Still not having consummated their marriage and with deep feeling of isolating and regret for having married, Effie meets and befriends Everett (Sturridge), a painter that her and John wanted to travel to Scotland to see. Everett isn’t at all oblivious to John’s contemptuous attitude towards his wife and offers Effie the attention and support that she has longed for since marrying John.
While the story line itself is quite interesting and relatable, the film is a little bit of a drag, mainly because it has that 1800’s methodical setting, resulting in a gloomy tale and some extremely dark scenes. Dakota Fanning however plays the role of Effie perfectly. Effie’s character is one that is quite passive, having a pretty dry personality and Fanning executes that very well. In Theaters April 3.