When we are young, we may dream of marriage and the life that follows. But like many dreams, reality does not match the fantasy.
In the 2014 film, Effie Gray, the title character whose full name is Euphemia Chalmers Gray (Dakota Fanning) is 19 when she marries the much older writer John Ruskin (Greg Wise). What starts out to be a good match goes south fast. John refuses to consummate their marriage. Needing the physical and emotional attention she should be getting from her husband, Effie turns to pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge). Effie also has a friend in Lady Elizabeth Eastlake (Emma Thompson). After five years of marriage Effie has to make a choice. She could stay in her empty and loveless marriage. Or, she could defy the strict standards of the Victorian era and find the happiness she deserves.
I truly enjoyed this movie. Written by Thompson, it has the usual beats of BPD (British Period Drama), but it is more than what the viewer expects. It is a story of female empowerment in an era in which women had no power. Based on Gray’s life, it is powerful, emotional, and a reminder that us females not only have a voice, we have the right to use it.
There is a myth about women and art. We can be the subject of the art, but we cannot be the artist.
In the mid 19th century, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood decided to put their own spin on art. Mostly made up of men, their work consisted of bright colors, an ornate attention to detail and subjects that looked like they could be real. But in spite of the impression that this movement was mostly made up of men, there were also a good amount of women artists and models who had a hand in creating this new form of art.
I picked up this book because the women whose stories are told have as much right to be recognized and appreciated as their male counterparts. To be honest, it was ok. If I was more a fan of classical art, I think I would have enjoyed the book more.