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Parents' Guide to

Effie Gray

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Slow-moving period film makes intriguing tale uninteresting.

Movie PG-13 2015 108 minutes
Effie Gray Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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This drama is a slow and arduous watch. Effie Gray, the historical figure, is a real-life tragic character with a feel-good ending. (Spoiler alert: She eventually worked up the nerve to leave her spouse, with whom she lived with unhappily.) But Effie Gray, the film, starts with what could have been a classic love triangle tale but instead becomes an uninspired, laboriously told one. We feel for her -- it's difficult not to empathize when her husband is such an awful beast -- but we get so little insight into why he is the way he is that we stop caring why.

It doesn't help that this period drama looks perpetually dismal and dark. Though they perhaps echo the subject material, the drab, underlit interior shots and dreary exterior scenes -- especially during an extended sojourn in Scotland -- fail to make the heart quicken as it should. There's just no light in this movie, no joy. Fanning does a fine job of portraying a woman who's beaten down and then learns to stand up, and Emma Thompson lights up the screen in a small role as Effie's sole ally, but the two acresses aren't enough to make Effie Gray watchable.

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