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At first glance, What a Girl Wants and Effie Gray are two movies that have nothing in common. One is a modern comedy, the other is a period piece tackling serious issues of sexuality and patriarchal power.
For me, What a Girl Wants and Effie Gray have two things in common.
- I’m surprised that I just now watched them (streaming on Netflix), since they both feature actors I like and a British setting.
- Neither are particularly good movies, but both hit a good spot for Anglophiles and so are worth watching anyway.
What a Girl Wants stars Amanda Bynes as an American teen with a very British father, played by Colin Firth, who doesn’t know she exists. The plot is completely predictable, but it’s worth it to see the London sites, wander the rooms and gardens of a fine estate, and enjoy a beautiful princess moment. Plus, riding on the back of a motorcycle driven by Colin Firth.
IMDB helped me find one of the most visible filming locations — the distinctive yellow house where the girl’s father lives is West Wycombe.
Dakota Fanning wanders through the film looking, in costume and pose, like the subject of one of the Pre-Raphaelite painters that her husband championed. Emma Thompson wrote the script and played Effie’s main ally, Lady Eastlake.
According to IMDB, West Wycombe’s interiors were a filming location for this movie. That almost makes me want to watch both films again to see if I can spot any identical locations. The exterior shots in Scotland are filled with beautiful, moody scenery. They aren’t British, but I also enjoyed the scenes in Venice.
Are you willing to watch films set in Britain, even when they are panned by the critics?