Based on the Victorian critic John Ruskin’s unconsummated marriage, Emma Thompson scripts the account of Effie Gray’s ill-fated marriage with intelligence and craftsmanship. The film boasts a fantastic cast with Emma Thompson as the independent Lady Eastlake, and Julie Walters as the imposing mother of John Ruskin. Both actresses inject a wonderful sense of entertainment to what first appears a rather simple and undermining plot.
It is in fact rather well written, and is a handsome movie with a sense of style and class that is undoubtedly the work of Thompson. It does have a tendency to veer off into drama. These scenes appear as entertaining to watch and as easy to grasp as Downton Abbey’s scandalous plots. It is however shame to see Dakota Fanning fall down into a shadowing role; she remains aesthetically pleasing as a young Scottish bride but fails to provide much of an emotional connection with the viewer.
Despite the film falling short of anything spectacular, it is most certainly a well crafted piece of work. With a mostly well portrayed cast, strong direction, and entertaining plot, it delivers as a historical drama. If you love a good film to entertain and educate you for a while or just want to witness some superb acting by Thompsons and Walters then this film is one to watch, although it is not necessarily one you have to see at the cinema, for as the same for most period dramas, it can quite happily be bought as a DVD and enjoyed on a regular sized television.
Image: Sovereign Films