6.9/10
18,942
141 user 104 critic

The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)

Trailer
1:37 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
In 1890s London, two friends use the same pseudonym ("Ernest") for their on-the-sly activities. Hilarity ensues.

Director:

Writers:

(play), (screenplay)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

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 »

Director: Oliver Parker
Stars: Rupert Everett, Julianne Moore, Peter Vaughan
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When Algernon discovers that his friend, Ernest, has created a fictional brother for whenever he needs a reason to escape dull country life, Algernon poses as the brother, resulting in ever increasing confusion.

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Richard Wattis, Michael Denison
Vanity Fair (2004)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Growing up poor in London, Becky Sharp (Witherspoon) defies her poverty-stricken background and ascends the social ladder alongside her best friend, Amelia.

Director: Mira Nair
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Romola Garai, James Purefoy
Easy Virtue (2008)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young Englishman marries a glamorous American. When he brings her home to meet the parents, she arrives like a blast from the future - blowing their entrenched British stuffiness out the window.

Director: Stephan Elliott
Stars: Jessica Biel, Ben Barnes, Kristin Scott Thomas
Hope Springs (2003)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Colin's a sad-eyed British artist holed up in a rundown hotel in small-town Vermont after being dumped by his fiancée. The hotel owner plays matchmaker and introduces him to a local girl. ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Herman
Stars: Colin Firth, Minnie Driver, Mary Steenburgen
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

At 10, Fanny Price, a poor relation, goes to live at Mansfield Park, the estate of her aunt's husband, Sir Thomas. Clever, studious, and a writer with an ironic imagination and fine moral ... See full summary »

Director: Patricia Rozema
Stars: Frances O'Connor, Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A man returns home with his bride-to-be, an actress, who turns out to be the sister of his family's maid.

Director: Eric Styles
Stars: Julie Andrews, Edward Atterton, William Baldwin
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Memoir of the lives of a family growing up on a post World War I British estate headed up by a strong disciplinarian, her daughter, her inventor husband, their ten year old son, and his ... See full summary »

Director: Hugh Hudson
Stars: Colin Firth, Rosemary Harris, Irène Jacob
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
Director: Adrian Noble
Stars: David Suchet, Emily Barber, Michael Benz
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Based on the life of the young Guy Burgess, who would become better known as one of the Cambridge Spies.

Director: Marek Kanievska
Stars: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Michael Jenn
Pride and Prejudice (TV Mini-Series 1995)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  

Jane Austen's classic novel about the prejudice that occurred between the 19th century classes and the pride which would keep lovers apart.

Stars: Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Susannah Harker
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

39-year-old April Epner's childish husband and school teacher colleague Benjamin/Ben leaves her, but with her biological clock ticking ever more loudly. Her dying bossy adoptive mother is ... See full summary »

Director: Helen Hunt
Stars: Helen Hunt, Colin Firth, Bette Midler
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Cyril Shaps ...
Pew Opener
...
Dowager
...
Guy Bensley ...
Christina Robert ...
Edit

Storyline

Two young gentlemen living in 1890's England use the same pseudonym ("Ernest") on the sly, which is fine until they both fall in love with women using that name, which leads to a comedy of mistaken identities... Written by arson83

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Everybody Loves Ernest... But Nobody's Quite Sure Who He Really Is.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

21 June 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ernst sein ist alles  »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$500,447 (USA) (24 May 2002)

Gross:

$8,378,141 (USA) (27 September 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Actress Finty Williams, who plays Lady Bracknell as a young dancer, is the daughter of Dame Judi Dench, who plays the older Lady Bracknell. See more »

Goofs

During Cecily and Gwendolyn's outdoor tea, Cecily cuts a large slice of cake that is served to Gwendolyn and placed on the corner of the tea table. After the cake is cut, the scene clearly cuts ahead to the end of the tea. In the time that elapsed during this part of the scene, a servant easily could have come by and taken the plate explaining why in subsequent shots with both Cecily and Gwendolyn and later, when Jack and Algernon take the ladies' seats at the tea table, the cake and its plate are missing. See more »

Quotes

Algy: But why does your aunt call you her uncle?
[Reading cigarette case]
Algy: "From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack." There is no objection, I admit, to an aunt being a small aunt, but why an aunt, no matter what her size may be, should call her own nephew her uncle, I can't quite make out.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the funeral for Bunbury, Colin Firth's Earnest is seen getting a tattoo of "Gwendolyn" on his posterior See more »

Connections

Version of In Earnest (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Lady Come Down
Music written by Charlie Mole
Lyrics by Oscar Wilde
Performed by Colin Firth and Rupert Everett
Courtesy of Fragile Music Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Should I see this film? It is rather Quixotic... but I think you should try.
11 June 2004 | by (London) – See all my reviews

Wealthy London bachelor Jack Worthing falls for Gwendolen, cousin of London socialite Algy, who has in turn fallen for Jack's ward, Cecily. Amongst other barriers to both relationships is the determination of both ladies to marry men called Ernest, leading Algy and Jack to pretend that Ernest is, indeed, their given name. Another stumbling block is the ubiquitous Lady Bracknell, Algy's aunt and Gwendolen's mother, who refuses to accept Jack as a suitor for her daughter because he was a foundling, discovered as a baby in a handbag at Victoria Station. Playwright Oscar Wilde put into Lady Bracknell's mouth some of the most delicious comments in stage history: "To be born, or at any rate bred, in a handbag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution".

The story follows the ups and downs and deceits of the two men whilst they pursue Gwendolen and Cecily, dogged by Algy's creditors and Lady Bracknell, whose opposition to Jack's origins proves insurmountable. On the way we learn of Jack's brother who does not exist yet manages to die in a Paris boarding house, and Algy's invalid friend Bunbury who also never drew breath yet nevertheless explodes on the advice of his physician. The situation remains unresolved until the final scene, when all the protagonists have collided at Jack's country estate.

This interpretation of Oscar Wilde's play may not suit purists. Oliver Parker takes a few liberties with the original, adding a couple of off-the-wall touches such as Gwendolen having "Ernest" tattooed on her rear end. None of this detracts from the film precisely because this is a film and not a filmed play and as a stand-alone movie this is highly enjoyable fare and remains graced by Wilde's eternal and inimitable wit.

The cast, too, is outstanding. Reese Witherspoon as Cecily mastered an English accent and, along with Colin Firth as Jack, Frances O'Connor as Gwendolen and Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell (Aunt Augusta), is first-rate; the film also boasts Edward Fox, Tom Wilkinson and Anna Massey in supporting roles. Lastly, no-one plays Wilde's nihilistic, aristocratic and insouciant wasters quite like Rupert Everett, who was designed for such parts.

Oscar Wilde's play is timeless and priceless and his wit dominates the proceedings; matched to a cast with the acting talent of this troupe, it does not fail. Wilde and English period drawing room comedies are an acquired taste and, for those unsure of their nature, can be distinguished by the conspicuous absence of gunfire, vulgar Anglo-Saxonisms, explosions, wizards, references to def-con 2, giants, breasts, giant breasts and Steven Seagal: if any of these is your cup of tea, look elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you want to watch a team of gifted actors delivering with great aplomb some of the smartest dialogue in English literary history, The Importance of Being Earnest is not a bad way to spend an hour or two.

"Is Miss Cardew at all connected with any of the larger railway stations in London? I only ask because until yesterday I had no idea that there were any families or persons whose origin was a terminus."


15 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Favorite Quotes bookwormfreak112
Family Tree? Relationship b/n Prism and Bracknell boybandboy
Jack/Gwendolen question Lady_Gwen
Importance fans, any other good movies? mallorynicole68
what does food symbolize in this movie? Tigerfan195703
Why did Colin Lie about being named Earnest? Chickonamission0007
Discuss The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?