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An Ideal Husband (1999)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  18 June 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 12,299 users   Metascore: 67/100
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Sir Robert Chiltern is a successful Government minister, well-off and with a loving wife. All this is threatened when Mrs Cheveley appears in London with damning evidence of a past misdeed.... See full summary »



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Title: An Ideal Husband (1999)

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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 5 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Rising politician Robert Chiltern once sold secret information and is now being blackmailed by Laura Evely. She has proof and it will damage his career and marriage severely. Chiltern calls in the help of his friend Arthur Goring.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Neville Phillips ...
Nickolas Grace ...


Sir Robert Chiltern is a successful Government minister, well-off and with a loving wife. All this is threatened when Mrs Cheveley appears in London with damning evidence of a past misdeed. Sir Robert turns for help to his friend Lord Goring, an apparently idle philanderer and the despair of his father. Goring knows the lady of old, and, for him, takes the whole thing pretty seriously. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He just doesn't know it yet.


Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief sensuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

18 June 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un esposo ideal  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£492,309 (UK) (16 April 1999)


$18,535,191 (USA) (1 October 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The green carnation that Arthur selects for his buttonhole is a subtle homage to Oscar Wilde. Wilde and his "inner circle" of gay friends used to wear green carnations as a way of discreetly displaying their sexuality. See more »


Lord Goring's jacket is buttoned, then unbuttoned, then buttoned again as he explains Lady Chiltern's letter to Lord Chiltern, Mabel and Lady Chiltern herself near the end of the film. See more »


Laura: Then I take it you reject my proposal?
Lord Arthur Goring: I'm afraid I must. For you see, as tempting as it may be, in truth it's little more than blackmail.
Laura: True.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits list Oliver Parker, the director, as playing "Bunbury", one of the gentlemen that is seen playing cards with Lord Goring in the Men's Club when Lord Chiltern arrives. Bunbury is also a never-seen character in "The Importance of Being Earnest", the play which is performed in the background of several scenes of this film. See more »

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User Reviews

Wit, depth and beauty - Will Wilde follow Shakespeare to Hollywood?
18 June 1999 | by (North Hollywood, CA) – See all my reviews

As I left this movie, someone said "How nice to see an intelligent movie!"

The risk going in was that it would be ONLY an intelligent - or at least clever - piece, all period manners and costumes. In fact, with all the Oscar Wilde wit which sounds wonderfully fresh here, there are also rich moments of emotional depth throughout this amusing but also quite moving film.

One theme here - touching in hindsight - is how little it can take to destroy a reputation - Wilde was later to have some of the most painful possible firsthand experience of this. But the central question here, which anchors the humor and beauty that decorate it, is the cost of rigorous, even rigid, honesty. And the growth of the central characters on this point shines through, even through the dance of wit and farce.

Underpinning this is a surprising faith in human nobility, quite in contrast to the ironic persona Wilde maintained. It struck me while watching it both that Wilde had very French characteristics - a continental finesse, the love of repartee - and yet was profoundly an English writer by virtue of his faith in fair play and the bonds of (platonic) male friendship.

In fact, Lord Goring, whose world-weary ways make him something of a surrogate for Wilde, is a distant cousin to Sidney Carton in coming to the defense of a 'nobler' friend even at great (possible) sacrifice to himself. His very lack of seriousness is what makes his efforts on behalf of his friends so moving.

With this, the pure visual beauty of actors like Cate Blanchett and Rupert Everett, matched by sumptuous costumes and sets, adds a sensuous element which, in a lesser film, might have dominated the movie. They, with Minnie Driver in cheeky comic form and Julianne Moore sweetly evil and superbly English, make it a delight both to watch and to savor later as tart food for thought.

34 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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An Ideal Husband or The Importance of being Ernest? FineEyes_PertOpinions
Goring and Mabel. Does *any*one else think this is wrong? moviegoer36
Lord Goring's Lover? lkpurdy
They got the meaning of the title wrong Bookluvr221
the play within the movie mwlin
Julianne Moore Wendolene_Ramsbottom
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