Effie Gray (2014)
5/10
Ruskin thrashed
12 November 2017
John Ruskin a famed social thinker, reformer, art critic and painter has his character thrashed in this film. Ruskin when he was 29 years old married Effie Gray (Dakota Fanning) who was 19 years old. Not that great an age difference but clearly Greg Wise as John Ruskin looks too old and sadly too one note, then again his wife Emma Thompson wrote the screenplay and also plays a supporting role as Lady Eastlake.

We are given very little to go on as to why Ruskin would not consummate the marriage, after all Effie is pretty which means either he was turned off by the female body or was homosexual. It probably did not help that Ruskin chose to live with his parents who seemed to have a heavy influence on the adult Ruskin.

Ruskin also encourages his wife to have a developing relationship with his art protégé Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge) even if Millais at one point tells Ruskin how this would look to polite society.

The film does not tell you that after the annulment, Effie married Millais and Ruskin never married again.

This is a handsomely mounted leisurely paced film, there is some location filming in Venice but it is rather dreary, inert and conventional.

Wise and Sturridge are not the strongest actors. Fanning though is rather good, Derek Jacobi and James Fox are rather wasted in their cameos.
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