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
by DAVID KEYES
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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