WCW: Dakota Fanning


I admit I have a hard time telling the Fanning sisters — Dakota and Elle — apart. I saw that the two would be starring in the upcoming World War II adaptation The Nightingale, and so I decided to attempt to disentangle them in my mind. Look for a post about Elle next week!


The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

A coming of age story set in 1964 South Carolina.

2008 The Secret Life of Bees

With Jennifer Hudson, looking pretty in yellow.


The Last of Robin Hood (2013)

As actress Beverly Aadland in this 1950s-set story about an aging Errol Flynn.

2013 The Last of Robin Hood

Ah yes, the era of the black turtleneck!

2013 The Last of Robin Hood

Susan Sarandon plays her mother.


Effie Gray (2014)

The true story of Pre-Raphaelites John Ruskin and his wife Euphemia Gray, whose trouble marriage was eventually annulled.

Effie Gray (2015)

I admit I love this hair and the black lace with the green, although that neckline trim is clunky,.

Effie Gray (2015)

In Venice. I give the hair a pass, because Pre-Raphaelite.

2014 Effie Gray


Brimstone (2016)

A thriller set in the late 19th-century West. Fanning plays a mute midwife.

2016 Brimstone

I don’t understand this.

2016 Brimstone

Okay this looks appropriate to the period.

2016 Brimstone

Wait is she now a prostitute?

2016 Brimstone

So confused!


The Alienist (2018-20)

A TV series about a team trying to solve a case about a serial killer of children, set in 1890s New York.

2018-20 The Alienist

Beautiful lace!

2018-20 The Alienist

Great colors, great hat.

2018-20 The Alienist


2018-20 The Alienist

It’s a lot of look, but I’m liking it!



What’s your favorite Dakota Fanning frock flick role?


About the author



Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

11 Responses

  1. Roxans

    At least she’s wearing a chemise under her corset, right?

  2. Rhonda Stannard

    Love Effie Gray and the love story between her and John Everett Millais

  3. Constance

    I enjoyed Effie Grey, I know the story of her life, and it was such a pretty movie and even included Emma Thompson acting and script writing…I doubt Ruskin looked like Greg Wise…but since he is Emma’s RL husband his presence is forgiven as it generally is…worth watching.

  4. Beck Laxton

    Can she actually act? I’m sorry, but I thought ‘Effie Gray’ was SO dull, and it was largely because Fanning was just expressionless the whole time. Even when she’s looking back out of the coach window at Millais, she’s got the same blank expression. And I wasn’t convinced about their time together in Scotland – where were all the signs that any connection was being made? I wondered whether the script was a bit underwritten, and the director wasn’t experienced enough to know how to fill the gap. So I was hugely underwhelmed.

    By the way, if you’re interested in things Victorian, Thompson got a lot of her info from a brilliant book about five Victorian marriages by Phyllis Rose, called ‘Parallel Lives’. There are some letters from Ruskin, and he’s even more of a arse than we thought….

  5. Rosemary

    Too be honest in Brimstone, she is a prostitute then a midwife, the story goes back and forward in time. I’m not a huge fan of Dakota I find her acting lifeless.

  6. LydiaR

    I quite enjoyed The Alienist as long as she wasn’t in the scene. She looked great, but her voice and her acting were wooden. It almost sounded like her character’s lines had all been recorded separately and added in later, but it was just her lack of expression. I enjoyed the first season well enough, but when I found out the second season was more about her than anyone else, I decided to pass on it.

  7. Kara

    I loved the costumes in The Alienist, but Dakota was absolutely miscast. She can act. Just not in this.

  8. mjsamuelson

    I decided after reading this to watch “Effie Grey” and while yes, it’s totally beautiful and I loved Dakota Fanning in it, the movie overall was a dud for me because of Tom Sturridge. I can’t with that guy – I don’t know if it’s his role in “Far From a Madding Crowd” or just the fact that I find him eminently unattractive, but he’s just a wet blanket for me.

    But now I need to check out “The Last of Robin Hood.” Love Dakota’s look!!

  9. Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

    I had many problems with Effie Gray including the casting of Greg Wise as Ruskin, who was only 10 years older than Effie. Also, yes the movie is about the Pre-Raphaelites but Millais was probably the most conventional of the lot, and Effie definitely would have been wearing her hair up, and corseted. Plus I found both Dakota and Tom Sturridge incredibly dull. She’s much better in the Errol Flynn movie. And because she looks so young, it really points out the creepiness of that relationship. I also agree about The Alienist, I thought she was completely miscast.

  10. Lily Lotus Rose

    I don’t have a favorite FrockFlick role of hers. I’ve only seen two of these–The Last Days of Robin Hood and one or two episodes of The Alienist–both were VERY disturbing, content-wise. And also, from the little I could stomach from The Alienist, I didn’t sense any chemistry between Dakota and Luke Evans.

  11. Baja Vegas

    She’s a good actress, I think. Looking forward to The Nightingale.