Effie Gray (2014) torrent download

Effie Gray

2014

Action / Biography / Drama / Romance

5.9

Synopsis

Based on the real-life scandal that shocked Victorian-era England, this movie tells the story of Euphemia "Effie" Gray (Dakota Fanning). At nineteen, she married the prominent art historian and critic John Ruskin (Greg Wise), but Ruskin refused to consummate their marriage. Lonely and frustrated, Effie is drawn to pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge), and finds a friend and champion in Lady Elizabeth Eastlake (Dame Emma Thompson). After five years trapped in a loveless marriage, Effie will defy the rules of Victorian society.

Director

Richard Laxton

Cast

Emma Thompson
as Lady Eastlake
Dakota Fanning
as Euphemia 'Effie' Gray
Greg Wise
as John Ruskin
Tom Sturridge
as Everett Millais
Julie Walters
as Margaret Cox Ruskin
Derek Jacobi
as Travers Twiss

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by peter-stead-740-486963 5 /10

Austere and unrelateable

Effie Gray is the young bride of renowned art critic, John Ruskin. We open with a brief prologue and their marriage, which seems happy enough, though, as was common for that time, money and security seems to have played a hand in the decision making process.

Things then quickly go south (literally and metaphorically) when they move to Denmark Hill, not into a marital home, but Ruskin's parent's. Two things are quickly established. Firstly, that the parents exert an unnaturally high level of control on John and intend to do the same with Effie. Secondly, this is no ordinary marriage - when Effie offers herself to him, he leaves the room. The rest of the film is then concerned with her wrestling with the predicament of her in-laws interference and freeing herself from a loveless relationship, no easy task, especially for the period.

This type of film is very reliant on well-wrought characters. Yet the film seems very lacking in several crucial dimensions. The character of John Ruskin as portrayed here seems relentlessly taciturn and one dimensional, even when discussing the pre-Raphaelite movement, something which should really get his juices flowing. What exactly his problem is with Effie is hinted at but never really explored. Is he impotent? Is he gay? Is he mad, as some seem to believe? There are hints he could be gay, ie there is a scene when he seems to be masturbating in bed, another later when there is a "moment" between him and a young painter, and also his father seems very aware that there is something which could have held him back which they have shielded him from so he could become the famous art critic he became. Effie is clearly expected to play her part in this.

The film mainly focuses naturally, then, on Effie, yet leaves out crucial aspects. We never get enough of a sense of who Effie is, ie who she was before marriage and losing her hair (from sheer neglect, it seems.) So it's difficult to get a sense of the journey she has to go through to liberate herself from a life of misery.

There is a metaphor used for this doomed relationship when they recall a previous conversation about Diana the wood nymph turning into a tree to escape Apollo's clutches. If anything, it cruelly underscores how unlike this romantic Greek myth they really are. The type of possession Effie seems subject to is not sexual but more akin to a pretty bird in a cage. When she then hallucinates about turning into a tree later it does seem to labour this point in a slightly puzzling way.

A bit of light relief is provided in the character of the worldly Lady Eastlake (the Screenwriter Emma Thompson) who seems perceptive towards Effie and sensitive to her plight, yet is strangely surprised on learning the marriage was not consummated. She also seems to provide a broader context to the plight of women during this period, but she is a frustratingly fleeting presence, given that she is a mentor and a revelation to Effie and a catalyst for her deliverance.

The dark heart of the film is certainly Ruskin's mother, played by Julie Walters. Played as a mixture of pompous refinement and thuggery, this is easily the strongest performance.

Those who are not especially interested in the subject matter (ie art, pre-raphaelites etc) will find little to enjoy here. And the writing is not accomplished enough to be genuinely thought provoking. Still, the performances are good and it does hold your interest for the duration. Be warned, though, it's not much of a giggle.

Reviewed by scribernow 3 /10

Disappointing re what could have been an interesting story

Oh Emma what a major disappointment! You didn't even bother to add some text at the end to say what happened to Effie. She went on to marry Millais and had several children with him and by all accounts lived happily ever after. The Scotland scenes were slow and boring though the rest was OK. certainly the TV series Desperate Romantics re the pre- Raphaelites was far more dramatic re Effie and Millais. It will be interesting to find out which was the real situation. Such a pity - the acting was OK and the costumes beautiful. The lighting was really weird though- going from dimmish to really dim in the same scene- if that was supposed to be some sort of filmic effect it failed. It made me think there was something wrong with my TV. I was also disappointed with the sound quality nod several times thought they were speaking in a foreign language - and I don't mean the scenes shot in Venice either!

For people who know nothing about the Ruskin/ Effie/ Millais situation, which was a very unique, scandalous and shocking situation that made Ruskin a laughing stock, it failed miserably. If you are going to pluck stuff from history it really needs to be far more accurate.

Reviewed by JamesHitchcock 6 /10

Portrait of a Marriage

The author, philosopher, art critic, historian and social commentator John Ruskin was one of Victorian Britain's great public intellectuals, so when his young wife Euphemia ("Effie") petitioned for the annulment of their marriage on the grounds of non-consummation this caused one of the great public scandals of the age. Effie accused her husband of being impotent; he countered with the mysterious allegation that her body had some "disgusting feature" which rendered her less than a woman. (As Effie was noted for her beauty, this allegation was greeted with some bemusement). Ruskin also accused his wife of adultery with the artist John Everett Millais, but a medical examination which revealed she was still a virgin both refuted this accusation and proved the truth of Effie's own assertions.

This film tells the story of the love triangle from Effie's point of view. The script was written by Emma Thompson, who also appears in the film in a supporting role. (Thompson appears to have an interest in art; she also produced and starred in "Carrington" about the early twentieth- century painter Dora Carrington). I had always imagined Ruskin's marriage to be a May-December affair between an innocent young girl and a man old enough to be her father, but in fact the age difference between the couple was only nine years. Much of the problem seems to have been that they did not have a home of their own, living with Ruskin's parents who seemed to disapprove of their son's marriage and did not put themselves out to make Effie feel welcome.

The film appears to have divided opinion; I note that the fact that one of the main characters is a painter has prompted some armchair critics to reach for that old "watching paint dry" comparison, which I felt was a trifle unfair. Admittedly the director Richard Laxton does sometimes seem to take an over-leisurely approach to his subject, but there are compensations. The film is mostly visually attractive, especially in the scenes set in Scotland where Laxton appears to have been influenced by Millais' great series of Perthshire landscapes, paintings which rank among his greatest artistic achievements, even though they are much less well known than his earlier Pre-Raphaelite pictures. (Millais can now be seen as one of our greatest 19th century artists, worthy to rank alongside Constable and Turner, but for many years his later work tended to be undervalued following severe contemporary criticism from the likes of Morris and his former champion Ruskin, who had obvious personal motives for denigrating his ex-wife's second husband).

The acting is generally of a high standard, especially from Greg Wise (previously best known to me as Mr Emma Thompson) as Ruskin. As portrayed here, Ruskin emerges not as a deliberately cruel man but as a cold one, an other-worldly intellectual with little interest in women, in love or in sex, and living under the thumb of his domineering mother (played, in another fine performance, by Julie Walters). Wise is rather older than the historical Ruskin would have been during this period of his life, but this does not really matter because the intention seems to have been to show him as a man old before his time. He also achieves a convincing likeness to the historical Ruskin, something which cannot be said for Tom Sturridge as Millais. (Sturridge is dark and bearded, Millais was blond and clean-shaven). The American actress Dakota Fanning plays Effie with a convincing English accent, but shouldn't someone have told her that Effie was actually Scottish? Or was this a deliberate move on the part of the producers to make the film more acceptable to American audiences, who traditionally have difficulties with British regional accents? (It is said that Cheryl Cole's Geordie accent was the real reason behind her sacking from the American version of "The X Factor").

After years of dealing with literary subject-matter, the British "heritage cinema" movement now seems to have moved on to the Victorian art world; Mike Leigh's biography of Turner is to follow shortly. "Effie Gray", however, is not principally about art; Millais is only a subsidiary character. Ultimately it is a psychological study or, to borrow Nigel Nicolson's phrase, a "portrait of a marriage". 6/10

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