Friday, March 13, 2015

EFFIE GRAY and Italian Spice

EFFIE GRAY sounds like the name of a character you would've seen on an old sitcom like Green Acres or Petticoat Junction.  But she's not.  Effie Gray is a young Scottish bride in the Victorian era of England.  I saw a preview of the movie last night.  If I dropped in to visit some of my lady friends this weekend at the Weave Only Just Begun Hair Salon and one of the hairdressers asked me what this new movie Effie Gray is about, I'd say "Honey, this movie shows you that a long lack of sex can make a woman go bald!"
That is indeed what happens to Effie as played by Dakota Fanning in this very PBS kind of movie.
She's a good and smart young lady who weds a handsome yet stuffy art critic with two snobby parents that you just want to slap.  She truly does love him.  The groom can write reviews about lovely nude women in paintings but, when his lovely bride presents herself totally nude to him on their wedding night, he walks out of the room faster than a Kardashian hearing "The camera crew is here."
Effie's married to that rich art critic for years, living in a big house and she's got no one to talk to.  He's arrogant and distant.  The in-laws ignore her.  The maid doesn't like her.  Her only true friend is the influential and fabulous Lady Eastlake, sort of a Victorian feminist played by Emma Thompson.
Thompson stars in the film and she wrote the screenplay.  She's a fine screenwriter.  Remember those artsy Merchant Ivory foreign import films like A Room with a View, Maurice and Remains of the Day? Seeing them was like taking a field trip to an art museum.  Effie Gray is that kind of movie.   It's a interesting film with smart performances and an equally smart script, but you just know as a moviegoer that it won't draw big crowds at the American cineplex.

That poor emotionally abused wife went years without sex from her chilly, mysterious husband.  Thompson's screenplay is based on true life characters.  A few years into the marriage and Effie's still a virgin.  A doctor confirms it.  This drama works her last good nerve to such an extent that she gets pale and her hair starts falling out.  She's miserable and white and balding.  Personally, if I was Effie, I'd have gotten my groove on with the butler when everyone was out of house -- and kept my hair.
Russell Tovey, currently in the cast of HBO's Looking, plays the butler.                                            

That isn't a photo of Tovey as the butler in the movie.  It's a more current photo.  But it shows you exactly what Effie needed.

Later in the movie, Effie goes to Italy and has an Italian chaperone.  The chaperone character is the Viscountess.  While in Italy and away from her dud husband, Effie will have the opportunity for some gondola sex.  Will she take advantage of the opportunity with the handsome young man who accompanies the Viscountess?

When I saw the titled Italian lady, I thought "!"  Are you a fan of classic 1960s movies?

The Viscountess in Effie Gray was deliciously played by Claudia Cardinale.
Cardinale was on Sergio Leone's 1968 Italian western, Once Upon a Time in the West.

She was also in Fellini's 8 1/2, Visconti's The Leopard and Rocco and His Brothers.

In Hollywood, she starred opposite Rock Hudson and added to the fun in The Pink Panther.

It sure was great seeing this Italian veteran on the big screen.  She spices up Effie Gray.
As for you...I hope you have a fine romance with plenty of activity in the bedroom.  Or wherever.  Consider it good hair care.  Effie Gray opens April 3rd.


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