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.
Certificate: 12 Distributor: Metrodome
Dir. Richard Laxton, UK, 2014, 108 mins
Cast: Dakota Fanning, Emma Thompson, Claudia Cardinale