n depicting the events of John and Effie's marriage, the movie is quite reserved and beautifully nuanced. Many of the filmmakers come from Merchant Ivory Productions, and Effie Gray is very much in that tradition. It's hard to know with certainty what went on in the marriage, but there are letters and written accounts that served as source material.
Whether all these figures are anti-heroes, or in some cases something else entirely, is an interesting question. As is the question of why anti-heroes are so important in quality television. Short form answer is that they match the times. It's a mostly cynical and sour era, with little faith in institutions or, generally speaking, leaders.