Moira, Alan+I went to the Watershed this afternoon to see Richard Laxton’s “Effie Gray”. I thought I knew quite a bit about John Ruskin’s life, but his unconsummated marriage to Euphemia “Effie” Gray was something I was previously totally unaware of (yes, I need to read/get out more!). The film was all rather beautiful – lots of images of autumnal Scotland to enhance Effie’s auburn hair and the sumptuous “celtic” colours of her outfits… and gorgeous scenes filmed in Venice (you can’t really get better in my book) – and the story was intriguing, BUT… if truth be told, I found it all just a little boring (turgid even?) and somewhat sugar-coated. Emma Thompson effectively played the part of a sort of fairy-godmother (Lady Eastlake - if you’ve written the screenplay, as she did, you can do these things); Effie was well played by Dakota Fanning; and Ruskin (played by Greg Wise) was suitably obnoxious. I do like Emma Thompson as an actress (and as a person), but feel that she always seems to play “Emma Thompson” whatever role she has… and this film was no different. And, of course, an Emma T film wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t include a whole host of her acting buddies - the cast included David Suchet, Julie Walters, James Fox, Robbie Coltrane, Derek Jacobi and, of course, her real life husband Greg Wise! The only real surprise was that Stephen Fry didn’t suddenly show up in the final scene…Perfectly watchable, but certainly not one of my favourite films of 2014.
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