Whenever the words “delayed release” are appended to any film, critics usually respond with an arched eyebrow and an intimation that the film is not as good as it should be. While this is often true, in the case of Effie Gray we need to use some restraint. Despite being completed eleven months ago, the film has been delayed as the result of a legal dispute concerning authors Eve Pomerance and Gregory Murphy. The authors both wrote plays and screenplays on the subject and have claimed that the film relies too heavily on their work. Those disputes have been resolved, so it’s only now that Effie Gray shall see the light of day.
Effie Gray tells the complex true story of a Victorian love triangle between the young lady of the title (Dakota Fanning), her husband art critic John Ruskin (Greg Wise), and a Pre-Raphaelite painter named Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge). The trailer for Effie Gray has everything you might expect from a contemporary Victorian melodrama, including shouting and sobbing and excellent actors in period costume. David Suchet, James Fox, and Emma Thompson (who also penned the script) lend some gravitas to the proceedings, with director Richard Laxton at the helm.
The story of Effie Gray was something a scandal of its time. Effie later divorced Ruskin for non-consummation, resulting in the probably apocryphal story that Ruskin had never seen a naked woman before his wife and thought they all looked like Greek statues (he did express some revulsion at her body, but it was never disclosed what, exactly). While I’m sure that the film will give some solution as to the reason that Grey and Ruskin never slept together, I do wonder what side of that little rumor they will come down on.
Effie Gray will come to UK cinemas on October 10, with no set US release date as of yet.