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|Index||94 reviews in total|
59 out of 63 people found the following review useful:
sympathetic reassessment of Wilde, 17 October 2004
Author: didi-5 from United Kingdom
This film was one of the best to appear in the late 90s, and is a
sensitive, involving, honest and moving biography of one of the
greatest writers of the Victorian era, the infamous Oscar Wilde.
More realistic and better played than previous studies of the writer (Robert Morley and Peter Finch both played Wilde in the 1950s), this film benefits greatly from a cracking performance by Stephen Fry in the lead. Not even regarded as an actor, more of a comedian, prior to this, Fry (himself gay, and something of an intellectual) puts across all the nuances and contradictions of the subject perfectly.
This Wilde is torn between what is accepted love (his wife, and children), and the 'love that dare not speak its name' (primarily his destructive relationship with the needy, selfish and petulant Lord Alfred Douglas, played here by Jude Law in the role which brought him to world attention). We see his charm and conviction when creating his plays or amusing friends, we also see his weaker side and why he was the cause of his own eventual arrest and imprisonment, we see how prison changed him and - as he wrote himself in De Profundis - broke his spirit and his health.
Watch out for other, now big, names in the cast - Ioan Gruffudd, Michael Sheen, Orlando Bloom - alongside the established players such as Vanessa Redgrave (Oscar's mother, Sperenza), Jennifer Ehle (Lady Constance Wilde), Tom Wilkinson (Marquess of Queensbury, Bosie's father), Gemma Jones (Bosie's mother), and Judy Parfitt.
A fitting musical score, a smattering of Wilde's epigrams, and a large chunk of his children's story 'The Selfish Giant' (driving and commenting on the action at key points) leave this film close to perfection when detailing the story of the misunderstanding of another age, not too far back from our own.
56 out of 61 people found the following review useful:
The noblest form of love, 19 October 2004
Author: Jen (zaileia) from England
I saw this film for the first time over the weekend, drawn to it I'm
ashamed to say for the fact that it contained Orlando Bloom's debut
appearance, all one line of it. I was pleasantly surprised to discover
Jude Law as Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas as well, making this film
highly appealing to the voyeurs of the world. However distracting these
heavenly creatures are though, they do become quite rightly
overshadowed by Stephen Fry in a role that could not be more perfect
for him if it were based on fiction rather than fact.
I have been a fan of Oscar Wilde for some time, and this film gave amazingly accurate insight into the life of a great Irish literary. Indeed, many a speech by Stephen Fry has been quoted word for word from the actual trial monologues, and the uncanny resemblance of Fry to Wilde himself is astounding.
'Wilde' proved to be entertaining and beautiful, maintaining the historical biopic status is revels in, but never drawing away from the fact that this story is of real people and real events.
So much can be gained by observing the prejudices of the past, and such sadness realized from knowing the suffering of those who were not meant for their time.
'Wilde' deserves credit in all aspects from accuracy to acting, direction and scene, it is a beautiful film and a credit not only the cast and crew, but to Oscar Wilde himself.
34 out of 50 people found the following review useful:
Mild Wilde, 17 October 2004
Author: paul2001sw-1 (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Saffron Walden, UK
Playwright, celebrated wit and persecuted homosexual Oscar Wilde is excellently portrayed by Stephen Fry in this biopic but without a hint of the expected waspishness. Instead, we see Wilde as a kindly, sensitive, almost avuncular man. What's more surprising is the parallel absence of manifest sordidness, self-loathing, or desperation, which one might have assumed would have been par for the course in an age where homosexuality was stigmatised and criminal. But as 'Wilde' tells it, Oscar, on discovering his true nature in early middle age, then enjoyed a number of halcyon years in a gay literary milieu, tensioned only by the childish behaviour of his lover, Bosie, and was taken quite by surprise when he suddenly became a figure of public scandal. Which may have been the case, but it makes for a less pressing and gripping drama than one might have hoped for. What's interesting is Wilde's defence in court, which has very little to do with "normal" homosexual behaviour or ordinary human relationships, but which rather comprised a divine idealisation of the bond between a wise older person and a beautiful younger one: hardly the sort of argument that gay rights campaigners would make today. A special credit should go to the team responsible for allowing Fry to appear so convincingly both a dashing young twenty year old and a ruined man, on the verge of death. But this is a mild and indulgent film.
22 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
The importance of being accurate, 17 November 2002
Author: George Parker from Orange County, CA USA
"Wilde" is an elegant film with sterling performances by Fry, the title character, and a superb supporting cast. However, "Wilde" is also a shaded and skewed partial portrait of the 19th century playwright, poet, and master of the epigram. The film is not so much a biopic as it is a drama: A drama which spends too much time on the sensational aspects of the writer's life and not enough on his history, early life, idiosyncrasies, works, and last years. Nonetheless, "Wilde" is solid entertainment for anyone interested in Victorian period dramas or the man himself. (B+)
14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Delicate and crushing, 12 July 2002
Author: ts_eh from Arvada, Colorado
The acting in this film was superb. As had many viewers--I suspect-- I had only seen Stephen Fry in the Blackadder and Wodehouse series. How delightful to find another actor intelligent and flexible enough to range from Melchett to Oscar Wilde! One cannot help but watch his face very carefully, waiting to see the mask slip. He seems strangely delicate in his huge, crushing frame...A nice follow-up movie to Velvet Goldmine, especially once you know that some of the dialogue from the latter was lifted from the works of Oscar Wilde.
16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Earnest production with a great performance by Stephen Fry, 1 July 2006
Author: bandw from Boulder, CO
This film biography of Oscar Wilde is a showcase for Stephen Fry. He
not only looks like Wilde, he breaths life into the many passages from
Wilde's writings that are woven into the screenplay. The difference
between reading Wilde and experiencing Fry's performance is like
reading Shakespeare and seeing Olivier perform. An evening listening to
Fry read from Wilde's works would be worth paying a tidy sum to attend.
I had no idea that Wilde had married young to Constance Lloyd (Jennifer Ehle in a fine performance) and had two adorable boys by her. In an effective plot device, periodically throughout the movie Wilde reads to his sons from his children's story, "The Selfish Giant." The readings are presented in a way that cleverly integrates the storyline of the writing with the storyline of the movie, with Wilde being the selfish giant. And how many people know that Wilde wrote children's stories?
There are many examples given of Wilde's biting wit, such as, "Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth," "The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast," and "I find that alcohol, taken in sufficient quantities, can bring about all the effects of drunkenness." Fry delivers these with perfect tone.
Of course a good part of the movie is devoted to Wilde's arrest and ultimate imprisonment for "indecent acts" with Lord Alfred Douglas (Jude Law). Wilde truly did live his life in accordance with his comment, "Where your life leads you, you must go. I defy society." As presented here, Wilde is a courageous and sensitive man who was forced into a tragedy by the strictures of a hidebound society. In current America most would judge his infractions with mild distaste at worst.
There are some disconcerting transitions, mostly in scenes with Lord Douglas. Douglas is seen to have a volatile personality. He could be needy and tender, but he could also be a first-class ass and manipulator with an explosive temper. His fits of anger seemed exaggerated and disrupted the tone of the movie. I had a similar reaction to the sex scenes in terms of disrupting the flow. Robbie's initial advances were abrupt and without foundation. The explicit sex scenes between Wilde and Lord Douglas would have been better hinted at than seen - their kisses and embraces could well be imagined but they felt incongruous and unbelievable in the flesh.
Wilde was much more than a wit. He could express emotions with eloquence. Consider this quote about encountering a previous lover after a hiatus of a few years:
"Life cheats us with shadows. We ask it for pleasure, it gives it to us with bitterness and disappointment in its train. And we find ourselves looking with dull heart of stone at the tresses of gold-flecked hair that we once had so wildly worshiped and so madly kissed."
The movie is nicely filmed with a good musical score. I wound up liking it more after having thought about it.
Watching this has expanded my appreciation for Wilde as a writer and as a person - I have been left wanting to know more about him and his work.
16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Great film, 18 June 2000
Author: Matthew Naylor from Lincoln, England
Not really knowing alot about the life of Oscar Wilde, I looked forward to
viewing this film, hoping that it would fill in one of the many gaps in my
education. I was not disappointed.
This is a film of exceptional human warmth and I can highly recommend it. It deals matter-of-factly with the "issue" of homosexuality, it doesn't condemn or condone what happened in Wilde's private life, the viewer just gets a look at the man underneath the legend.
Stephen Fry does a great job as the title role, making Wilde a sympathetic character with whom the audience empathises. How he contrasts with the Marquess of Queensbury! I will long remember the confrontation between the two men, with Wilde giving as good as he gets against the Marquess' pathological hatred.
Jude Law gives an expert performance as Bosie (or Lord Alfred Douglas), with his deeply contrasting nature shown to full effect, sometimes being tender and loving, at other times changing into a screaming "madman".
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this film and can heartily recommend it to anyone who likes good films.
16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Interesting portrait., 7 June 1999
Author: Peach-2 from Netherlands
Wilde is a film about a man's passions destroying his life. Oscar Wilde was a very interesting man and discovered his dormant homosexuality late in life. The film was very tragic in a lot of ways. The love story between Wilde and Douglas was venomous and sweet. The performances by Jude Law and Stephen Fry were top notch. The direction was a little sluggish I thought and the film could have been better paced. The production design was great though and I loved listening to Wilde's sarcasm of the British class system. If you are a fan of Oscar Wilde, you will probably like this film more than the average movie fan.
13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Almost perfect, 3 September 1999
Author: Kim Smeby (email@example.com) from Oslo, Norway
This film portrays Oscar Wilde in a totally remarkable way. It should
probably have focused more on his writing than on his personal life, but
beyond that choice, the film is almost perfect.
When it isn't completely perfect, it has to do with the plot, which has some rather weak points. The love between Wilde and Bosie is somewhat difficult to understand. They are completely different. Maybe opposites attract, but not when two people live in two completely different worlds, like Wilde and Bosie seem to do. Of course, one could look at it from a cynical point of view, and say that they both have what the other one want; Wilde has money and Bosie looks, but one can also look at it in a romantic way, give them the benefit of the doubt, and think that they really are in love. That makes the story nicer (for a while), and much, MUCH more interesting!
Beyond that, I have only positive things to say about "Wilde". The script is fabulous, and adding a double story by putting in one of his nursery stories, was a great move! One of the most best parts of the film, is Wilde's speech in court. Really touching! The ending could easily have become extremely sentimental, but that is cleverly avoided.
Stephen Fry shines as Oscar Wilde. He is so credible, and does his job so well that if I didn't know better, I'd actually think that it really WAS Wilde I saw on the screen. Law and Redgrave also put in top notch performances.
Everyone will probably not appreciate this film as much as I did (it is a matter of whether you can deal with gay sex or not, and like dramas of course), but give it a try! It deserves two hours of your time, and much much more!
10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Not excellent, but not horrible...SPOILERS, 16 September 2004
Author: maraudertheslashnymph from Minnesota
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My review is a bit of a mixed one. To start off with, I really like
Stephen Fry, seeing as I'm a proud owner of the complete Jeeves &
Wooster. I also like Jennifer Ehle, who played Constance Wilde, though
I've only ever seen her in Pride and Prejudice before.
I didn't consider this a bad movie, but I didn't consider it an extraordinarily good movie, either. I kept having the feeling that it could be more than what it was. The plot seemed to jump from incident to incident without much time for the audience to fully appreciate each.
In the first couple of scenes the relationship between Oscar and Constance is starting, then before I know it they're married. Before I could get a full grasp of the dynamics of their marriage Oscar is sleeping with Robbie, and before I could figure out how the relationships with Constance and Robbie were reconciling themselves in Oscar's mind, he was onto the next one. Then before I could figure out how he felt about that, he was meeting Bosie...
Bosie was one of my favorite things in the film. Just when I thought he was a spoiled little rich brat he was cuddling Oscar, and then once I decided he was all right after all he was whining about how boring Oscar was when he was sick. (I'm sure you're witty and charming when you're ill, Bosie...*rolls eyes*)
Then there were the renters. I liked the renters if only because they reminded me of the parts in the book At Swim, Two Boys where MacMurrough is thinking about Oscar Wilde, his hero. Of course, I am not going to complain about Jude Law in bed with a naked renter, either.
Seeing as each relationship didn't have sufficient time to be developed, however, some of the nudity came across as gratuitous. Gratuitous nudity can be fine, but after a while my thoughts were less "Oh, nice arse" and more "Here we go, another naked renter, again."
I found the dynamics of the Douglas family quite intriguing, and I'd love to see a movie in which Bosie and not Oscar is the main character. Bosie's father was sex-obsessed, had a fixation with cremation, and drove one of his sons to suicide (according to Bosie, that is). He carried a whip everywhere and apparently used it on various members of the family. Forget the naked renters, let's examine how Bosie became the way he was.
Oscar on trial was of course fascinating to watch, as the real-life facts of the trials could never be ruined by any screenwriter or director. However, seeing as I didn't have much time to develop feelings about Oscar and his situation, I wasn't emotionally drawn in.
Things I liked: Constance's slightly suspicious innocence of her husband's relationships. I was also fond of the scenes with their children, and the fairy tale that Oscar writes and tells to them; it serves as a metaphor for large portions of the film. My favorite Oscar/Bosie scene was early on, when they're walking around arm in arm while Bosie tells Oscar how he's being blackmailed. Oscar's advice on how to get rid of the blackmailing former lover was insightful as to the initial attractions Bosie has for him.
In conclusion, the film certainly had its great moments, but it was choppy and sometimes sensationalized, which in my opinion prevented it from being truly powerful.
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