Critics have been divided about the latest British period drama to hit cinemas. Effie Gray is based on a notorious true scandal from the mid-19th century, and most reviews have commented that the buttoned-up approach leaves the film feeling more than a little dull.

'Effie Gray' poster
Dakota Fanning stars in 'Effie Gray'

Indeed, for a film about a torrid love triangle, the movie only barely hints that there's any sex going on beyond lots of aching glances. Director Richard Laxton was clearly channelling Victorian timidity about these things, but there are spicier hints laced through Emma Thompson's script and the layered performances of the strong cast, including Dakota Fanning, Greg Wise, Tom Sturridge, Julie Walters, David Suchet, Derek Jacobi and Thompson herself.

More: Audiences Get A Glimpse Of Effie Gray

The last time we saw a true story from the period was The Invisible Woman, in which Ralph Fiennes played Charles Dickens as an older man wooing a much-younger Felicity Jones. That film was even more repressed than Effie Gray, which at least has some sexual subtext. In The Invisible Woman the characters barely look at each other, let alone kiss or, shock horror, touch each other tenderly.

Watch the trailer for 'Effie Gray' here:

Actually, with its feminine perspective, Effie Gray has a decent chance to catch on with female audiences, telling a story about suffocating in-laws and distant husbands that a lot of women will be able to identify with.