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Hi everyone... This is my first ever review, so I'll see how it goes...
I just saw this a few hours ago here at the Rio Film Festival and I
have to say, it was one of the most charming films I've seen this year.
Those who know Oscar Wilde's work should know that it is mostly based
on dialog, and this is no different.. but most of it is so hilarious
that even people who can't stand talk-based movies should have a good
time. The real star of the show here is, in my opinion, Tom Wilkinson.
Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson are both very good (as is most of the
cast), but Wilkinson is so endearingly silly that you can't help but
care for him more than the others. So what keeps it from being a
stunner? The same thing that makes it good: it's the type of film you
forget very easily. Nothing is ever too serious about the film and even
though that is a pivotal thing in making it such a good time, it also
makes it very easy for the film to slip out of your mind once it's
over. Also, another thing I noticed (and thought was kind of weird,
actually) was how uneven the cinematography was. You'd have one shot
that was really beautiful and lush followed by one that seemed a little
rushed, and not particularly worked on (those who have seen Barry
Lyndon should notice that some shots, in my opinion, are incredibly
similar, though sunnier - hopefully a reference, not a rip-off). But,
by all means, go see it. It is a wonderful film to see with someone
special, and should provide some very quotable one-liners once it comes
A romantic comedy that is as sleek as it is clever? If that's not enough reason to go to the movies, I don't know what is. Thanks for reading, bye!
I watched this film at a preview in Somerset last week with nearly 400 other people and was very pleasantly surprised. I had read the few reviews on IMDb and was a little concerned that I might not like it. But have no fear - if you like films that have a good and witty screenplay, high production values, wonderful scenery, excellent actors, beautifully made costumes and a score that enhances every bit of enjoyment in the film - then this one is for you. There is undoubtedly a growing market for this type of intelligent and enjoyable film yet the reviews in the nationals can often put audiences off what they might well enjoy. The principal actors are good, particularly Helen Hunt and Tom Wilkinson, but they are more than well supported by some fine British character actors who are superb and totally convincing. And if you don't know Lady Windermere's Fan then your enjoyment will probably be even greater as it is an engrossing story.
I must say I was very impressed with this little flick. I had minimal
expectations upon entering our little preview screening.
Shot in a very safe & traditional manor, it features sets which pay incredible attention to detail. The characters, although slightly over-emphasized at times (which fitted the cinematic style), were believable and enough conflict was generated to keep you wandering how people were going to respond to the presented situations. And keep you just a little bit squeamish from time to time.
Quite amazing at certain parts... which worked fabulously in our setting, as our ages spanned from 18 to 90 years old, and everyone had a giggle from time to time.
If your a DOP or photography enthusiast, it also contains one of the most impressive focus pulls I've seen in a while, which certainly bought a smile to my face. :-) Also, the costumes are exquisite.
Well worth watching on a Sunday afternoon over a bottle of red.
Interesting movie! Probably to the contrary of many other viewers, I went to see this partly because I was intrigued by one of the supporting cast - Mark Umbers, a young British actor who plays Mr Robert Windermere. However, I was pleasantly surprised by all the cast. Tom Wilkinson is, as ever, a joy to watch - it's certainly impressive how he can persuasively portray both fantastically nice characters such as Tuppy, and also villains like Lord Queensberry in "Wilde". Helen Hunt was surprisingly beautiful as Mrs Erlynne, and a mention should go out to Stephen Campbell-Moore too. The locations were superb, the 30s vibe worked gratifyingly well, and in general I feel it did the Wilde original justice beautifully. Definitely recommendable.
I almost didn't bother to see this, but I'm pleased that I did.
As noted by other comment writers, the strength of this film is the two fine performances of Helen Hunt and Tom Wilkinson, especially Wilkinson in the role of Tuppy.
The film suffers the usual foibles of a stage adaptation, with some scenes seeming very contrived, as the characters linger at bars and exchange witticisms. On the other hand the writer and director have made a serious effort to address this problem and succeed in parts, (Lady Windermere and Lord Darlington's stroll through the fish sellers is a memorable example).
I am not familiar with the original play and especially towards the end was quite swept along by the narrative tension, which again was a very pleasant surprise.
So in conclusion, a clever little story, some fine performances and a stack of Wilde's incisive aphorisms on the vagaries of the human condition. What's not too like? It deserves to be widely seen, so get out and see it before it's too late!
I feel this is the best film I have seen for a very long time. As a UK
BAFTA member had I have seen it in competition earlier this year (and I
don't know why it was not BAFTA nominated) I would have cast my vote
for it in most major categories....particularly Direction, Editing,
Performances, Design, Make up, Costume, Music and more, even Best Film.
The only criticism I have is the title....and this may have held it back from popular interest. Luckily a friend in the industry tipped me off that it was an exceptional movie and I feel without doubt it definitely is, so I am tipping you off...go and see it! Stunning performances from the entire cast. Thank goodness we can still produce movies as entertaining as this one!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Got absorbed into this film from the start. Creates a wonderful atmosphere of 1930's Italy (Amalfi coast) with the jet set spending the summer gossiping and romancing with each other. The story is delightful with a happy ending and great for a romantic night out. I loved the script and the way it had been uplifted from Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's fan set in Victorian England to the 30's in Italy - some cracking lines. Helen Hunt was the star for me - so seductive. Photography is great. Lovely light hearted film that makes 90 minutes just disappear which is always the sign of a good film. I thought the cast handled it very well with strong performances all round. Best line was " We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking up at the stars" - enjoy.
Some people reading this review will almost certainly brand me
uncultured and insensitive. For the record, I know by heart every Oscar
Wilde work, all his quotations, and where they came from.
Oscar Wilde was a genius, and these hacks who tore apart "Lady Windermere's Fan", changed the title to "A Good Woman", and passed it off as their own did nothing but to tarnish Wilde's reputation.
Those who read or saw the original play would have a good idea what is going on in the film. So I am not going to say much about the plot, since there is little deviation between the two versions. What's different, are the time (from the late 1800s to the 1930s), the setting (in Italy instead of in England), and the nationalities (the Windermeres are now Americans). Maybe, the filmmakers need an excuse to hire Italian hand (since it is also a British-Italian co-production) and so, the easiest way is to set it on Italian land. This is where the problem starts.
The whole dialog was rewritten so that they would sound more "working class", and more natural to our supposed untrained ears. The new lines are nothing but artificial and trite. It sounds like everyone has a sock in their mouth. For a good measure, the writers threw in as many recognizable Oscar Wilde quotes as they possibly can. Sorry, no dice. I know where they came from, and I don't find their use particularly deep or witty, and I definitely don't feel cultured listening to them, no matter how heavy a British or Italian accent there was.
Helen Hunt comes across as blend and had that "whatever" attitude. She made a whore of out Mrs. Erlynne, not a seductress that she was meant to be. Scarlett Johansson appeared too immature for the role and didn't have the kind of strength that a Wildian heroine would usually demand. The male leads, Mark Umbers (as Windermere) and Stephen Campbell Moore (as Darlington) had little opportunity to shine. This is disappointing, especially for the latter. In short it's awful. Even the actors knew it, so they just took the, "what the hell, it pays the bills" approach.
The marginally redeeming factor was Tom Wilkinson. He did his part exactly what was entailed. It would have worked in the original play, because he was the only one who saw right through the seductress (a factor that eventually won Mrs. Erlynne's affection). Here, he is just another man who sympathized with her (mostly due to the fact that Mrs. Erlynne's role was demoted to a hair short of a whore).
Overall, the flow of events and lines were just thrown right at the audience with little sense, or expectations, or both.
Finally, if you don't like this movie someone tells you you're an uncultured brute, you can tell them this. The tag line, "Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future" came from "The picture of Dorian Gray."
I thought this was one of the best adaptations of a play to cinema. The way you are lured to believe throughout the first half of the picture the great deception on which Wilde first built his plot,which is the role of a woman of ill-repute portrayed by Helen Hunt, and her connection with Mr. Windermere, I find it to be a stroke of genius of both the original writer as well as the script's writer and the director. I suppose this is a great tribute Barker is making to Wilde himself, and to the theater that gave Wilde his fame and reputation. It all seems to me like a theatrical movie with great photography and music, but a play never the less. The actor's lines are of the highest quality a viewer can ever hope to listen, and the humor is so fluent you can glide trough the whole picture on a single laugh, apart from the more philosophical contents near the end, where you are struck by the conversion of that «evil» woman into a really good one. Truly great!!
great movie..one of the best i have seen lately.
Excellent language used. every sentence has double innuendo. one wonders what is the absolute meaning of it all. simply awesome! Oscar Wilde..i guess that says it all.
i would love to see another. excellent work by Helen Hunt.And of course by all the characters in the movie. The society at large will always remain that way, no matter how many good/bad women come and go! The society has always had a culture, this culture is very well put by the movie. the movie progresses slowly but with the flow of language, one is easily put in place. this wont change...this is a part of every society and culture, no matter where we go.
Truly a good movie, by the end of it all. Worth a watch!
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