Rating -

Biography (UK); 1998; Rated R; 116 Minutes

Stephen Fry: Oscar Wilde
Jude Law: Lord Alfred Douglas
Vanessa Redgrave: Speranza
Jennifer Ehle: Constance Lloyd
Michael Sheen: Robie Ross
Tom Wilkinson: Marquess Of Queensbury

Produced by Alex Graham, Alan Howden, Nick O'Hagan, Deborah Raffin, Marc Samuelson, Deter Samuelson, Michael Viner and Michiyo Yoshizaki; Directed by Brian Gilbert; Screenwritten by Richard Ellmann and Julian Mitchell

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Written by DAVID KEYES

"Wilde" exists purely on two different levels: for one, it is cinematographer's dream, and on another level, it is a deeply involving dramatical interpretation of the personal and social lives of playwright Oscar Wilde, who, as history reports, changed his sexual background after getting married and having children. The style of art and wisdom the creators of this movie have used here rolls around to be one of the greatest and most sensational biographical images I have ever seen. Not since "Amadeus" has a movie profoundly lifted my eyebrows with its wit and intense interpretations of human life. It is not only gorgeous and respectable, but it is also prolific, intelligent, and true to the nature of Wilde's life.

I, myself, am not familiar with his background, but what I have read about him in the past played a big part of what I got out of the movie. Wilde had children, a beautiful wife, and a way with words. He himself spoke some of the most intelligent phrases man has ever spoken, and its those words that made his life seem all the more meaningful.

But then, when he seemed to have it all, he went out and had an affair with a man, who, at the time, was willing to go against anything his father, the Marquess of Queensbury, ordered. At this time of life, homosexuality was outlawed, but it's not like Wilde or his lover cared. The Marquess, when aware of their relationship, publicly insulted Wilde's profession, social activities and personal values, and, though most people think that it was the Marquess who took Wilde into court, Oscar eventually sought out to sue the Marquess for Slander.

Everyone eventually knew of Wilde's background, so here, you'd expect him to be the humiliated one in court. He isn't though--watching the scenes in which he describes his relationships and reasons for them, the audience becomes stunned, as the script is written in a way that Wilde himself would have thought best suited his character. Stephen Fry, the man who plays Wilde, brings passionate life to the script's words, and knows what to say and when to say it. Sure, a playwright like Wilde could persuade the courts to his side with his wise words, but they are words that not even Shakespeare could right. They are dead-on impacts of society and human life. You hear them, and you know they are true--there are no arguments to debate them, and no other words to change their meaning.

But I don't find it necessary to give such an example of his words here. They are written everywhere in history books, so I suggest going there to see them. After seeing "Wilde," I myself picked up an encyclopedia and read of his whole image, which expands on more than just film. But the film, in every way, is of great intention; the account of this period of life, the style and mood the director sets, and the lyrical interpretation of Wilde's inner character all conspire to produce one of the year's best movies.

1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org. Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
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