Effie Gray 2014

Critics score:
43 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Wesley Morris, Grantland: It's deadly dull, clogged with all kinds of string and piano music and sunk by a perplexingly lifeless performance by Dakota Fanning as Gray. Read more

Farran Smith Nehme, New York Post: The Victorian melodrama in "Effie Gray'' works better than the Victorian suffering. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: We'll never know how mismatched Ruskin and Effie were in real life, but in Ms. Thompson's tactful but muted version of the truth, they seem to be in a stupor. Read more

Guy Lodge, Variety: This admirable, watercolor-delicate tale of individual feminist emancipation never quite blooms into living color, hampered by spotty casting and Richard Laxton's overly deliberate direction. Read more

Jesse Hassenger, AV Club: On a purely technical level, Effie Gray is fine, if uninspired, with its washed-out color, attention to detail, and lack of heavy-handed moralizing. As an experience, though, it's a drag without much reward. Read more

Barbara VanDenburgh, Arizona Republic: The film itself begins to feel like Gray, a pretty bird in a gilded cage with nowhere to fly. Read more

Peter Keough, Boston Globe: The counterpoint of styles comments on Ruskin with irony and subtlety; as such it succeeds as criticism - and as art. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Wise, who is noticeably older than the 29-year-old Ruskin was at the time the events occurred in real life, gives a tense, implacable performance, and Fanning is touching. The movie, however, directed by Richard Laxton, could use a lot more oomph. Read more

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: With a script by Emma Thompson, you might expect Effie Gray to have the same period-piece poignancy as her 1995 take on Sense and Sensibility. No such luck. Read more

Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter: Effie Gray is an exquisitely dreary slice of middlebrow armchair theater which adds little new to a much-filmed story. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: The best thing about the ultimately involving way this romantic drama ends up on screen is that it's sure to arouse enough interest to make those who don't already know the outcome more than eager to look it up. Read more

Connie Ogle, Miami Herald: This period piece, directed by Richard Laxton, is shot in such a grim and grainy fashion you long to turn on the lights - which is fitting, because you also wish the filmmakers had illuminated the characters a bit more clearly. Read more

John Anderson, Newsday: Visually voluptuous, though the pacing occasionally suggests watching a Pre-Raphaelite dry. Read more

Tomas Hachard, NPR: Thompson largely succeeds at giving Effie a voice, much as Fanning succeeds at beautifully bringing it to life. But the world around Effie remains crudely drawn, and in that respect the film can only do so much justice to her story. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR: ...attractively shot, appealingly acted, and decorously eye-opening. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Fanning feels wafer-thin and out of her element. She's appropriately wan, but as we never know Effie's potential, her loss of identity has minimal punch. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: It's a lamentable if not especially engrossing story, part wronged-woman narrative, part marital horror movie. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Effie Gray is peculiarly compelling, even if the issue of sexual repression, all the Victorian manners, seem light-years gone and close to unfathomable. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: While it has some lovely moments, "Effie Gray" is a bit underwhelming; it's odd that an artist so acclaimed for her wit would produce a script so chilly, so dour. Read more

Thomas Lee, San Francisco Chronicle: Fanning is a worthy muse for Thompson. She has developed into an actress who can convey considerable depth and feeling behind those haunting pale blue eyes. Read more

Inkoo Kang, TheWrap: It's a sumptuously elegant picture, but a disappointingly timid and decorous work that takes more care in outlining oppression than in creating a compelling protagonist. Her suffering is interesting, but she is not. Read more

Cath Clarke, Time Out: A thoughtful, well-acted and perceptive drama - but for a film about a love triangle, the sparks don't exactly fly. Read more

David Ehrlich, Time Out: The rare period piece that resists a helpful infusion of modern-day freshness, Effie Gray is entombed by the same emotional repressiveness that frustrated its namesake. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice: You can feel the good intentions vibrating off the screen, but it's still a listless affair, one that takes forever to go almost nowhere. Read more

Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine/Vulture: Fanning's controlled presence is ideal for a tale of Victorian repression. But as the film becomes one of quiet liberation, it needs more than her cool reserve. Read more

Stephanie Merry, Washington Post: The movie has a very methodical pace, which sometimes verges on sluggish. And the soft focus of certain light-filled scenes doesn't make Effie look angelic so much as it makes the director appear amateurish. Read more