Effi Briest | Chicago Reader

Effi Briest

Julia Jentsch (Sophie Scholl: The Final Days) plays the title character in this fifth screen adaptation of the German novel by Theodor Fontane. After marrying an aristocrat in his 30s (Sebastian Koch of The Lives of Others), teenaged Effi leaves the comfort of her family’s Prussian estate for a gloomy manor in a provincial backwater on the Baltic coast. Bored and lonely, she imagines ghosts, but a more corporeal threat exists in the jealous housekeeper (Barbara Auer). In the novel, Effi’s attachment to a callow army officer leads to her demise; by contrast, director Hermine Huntgeburth uses it to add a feminist gloss to a handsome but inconsequential fin de siecle drama. In German with subtitles. 113 min.

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