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Effie Gray


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Drama, UK, 2014, 108 min.

Synopsis In "Effie Gray" Dakota Fanning plays the title character, Euphemia "Effie" Gray, wife of the 19th century's greatest art historian and critic, John Ruskin (Greg Wise). Ruskin's sexual dysfunction and his wife's sexual innocence and inexperience in the repressed atmosphere of Victorian England are further complicated by Effie's affair with pre-Raphaelite painter Sir John Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge) after Effie poses for the artist and falls in love with him. Author and art historian Lady Elizabeth Eastlake (Emma Thompson, who wrote the screenplay), Effie's friend and champion, encourages her to seek an annulment from her husband. In order to prove non-consummation of the marriage, Effie is forced to undergo a physical examination that confirms her virginity after five years of marriage to Ruskin. During the trial, which creates a scandal and more discussion than the ongoing Crimean War, a doctor (Robbie Coltrane) testifies that the plaintiff is a virgin. The physical examination and embarrassing courtroom testimony about her intimate life induces a psychosomatic paralysis that lasts 10 days. The judge rules in Effie's favor, citing her husband's "incurable impotency." While her internationally renowned husband continues his busy professional and social life, Effie, a spirited, outgoing woman, is ousted from society and forbidden to attend any event where Queen Victoria is present. Her ostracism is alleviated by her marriage to Millais, with whom she will eventually have eight children.

Directed by Richard Laxton  

Starring Dakota Fanning, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Tom Sturridge, Robbie Coltrane, more...

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