Fontane Effi Briest
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Rainer Werner Fassbinder's adaptation of a late 19th-century novel by Theodor Fontane is an austere period piece that may be the least characteristic of the German director's films. The titular heroine, played by Fassbinder regular Hanna Schygulla, is a 17-year-old girl forced into a loveless marriage with an old count. Living as the aristocrat's trophy wife, Effi endures her provincial existence unhappily. Her circumstances lead to a brief affair with a young lieutenant that attracts the attention of the townspeople, but not her unsuspecting husband's. Years later, however,… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's visually beguiling -- its cameramen having found shades of gray between black and white I'm not sure I've seen before -- and it is performed by the Fassbinder stock company with the precision and style one seldom finds outside the legitimate theater."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"In spite of achieved small-budget period flavor, the film is ponderously top-heavy in its setting up and complication."
‑ Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"It's Fassbinder's arm's-length direction that makes Effi Briest come off as cold and detached instead of calculating and sad."
‑ Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com
"The slow, deliberate pace is sometimes taxing, but this story of a 16-year-old girl locked in the boredom of a loveless marriage is perfectly suited to Fassbinder's stifling mise-en-scene."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"One of the finest films to come out of postwar Germany."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Compelling viewing for the delicate way it unfolds and leaves a tingling feeling there's a lot more going on than it seems."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"The film demonstrates not only Fassbinder's usual superb technical control and ability to elicit superbly nuanced performances from his actors, but also an unprecedented affinity for literary adaptation and historical sensitivity."
‑ Matt Bailey, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
More reviews for Fontane Effi Briest on Rotten Tomatoes