The untold story of the last days in the tragic times of Oscar Wilde, a person who observes his own failure with ironic distance and regards the difficulties that beset his life with detachment and humor.

Director:

Rupert Everett

Writer:

Rupert Everett
5 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Colin Firth ... Reggie Turner
Colin Morgan ... Alfred Bosie Douglas
Emily Watson ... Constance Wilde
Rupert Everett ... Oscar Wilde
Tom Wilkinson ... Father Cuthbert Dunne
Anna Chancellor ... Lydia Arbuthnott
Béatrice Dalle ... Café-Concert Manager
Ronald Pickup ... Judge
Julian Wadham ... Mr. Arbuthnott
Joshua McGuire ... Ambrose Smithers
John Standing ... Dr. Tucker
Daniel Weyman ... Beauchamp Denis Brown
Benjamin Voisin ... Jean
Ciro Petrone ... Fisherman at Christmas Party
Sabrina Lopez Leonard
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Storyline

In a cheap Parisian hotel room Oscar Wilde lies on his death bed. The past floods back, taking him to other times and places. Was he once the most famous man in London? The artist crucified by a society that once worshipped him? Under the microscope of death he reviews the failed attempt to reconcile with his long suffering wife Constance, the ensuing reprisal of his fatal love affair with Lord Alfred Douglas and the warmth and devotion of Robbie Ross, who tried and failed to save him from himself. Travelling through Wilde's final act and journeys through England, France and Italy, the transience of lust is laid bare and the true riches of love are revealed. It is a portrait of the dark side of a genius who lived and died for love. Written by Beta Film GmbH

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The last days of Oscar Wilde - and the ghosts that haunted them - are vividly evoked...

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, language and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is Rupert Everett's writing and directing debut. Everett tried to get his passion project made for ten years, rejecting other movie roles so he would be available if it was green-lit. See more »

Goofs

Naples, 1897: in an argument, Bosie states that Oscar uses "pancake" makeup. Pancake wasn't invented until the 1930s, by Max Factor. See more »

Quotes

Reggie Turner: [Holding up a framed picture of Queen Victoria] No exiled fairy's trousseau is complete without a signed portrait of the great widow herself. You must dance naked before it at the Jubilee next month.
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Crazy Credits

During the end credits Oscar Wilde is heard and seen singing a French song in a cafe. Then there are flashbacks of audiences applauding his works in a theatre. See more »


Soundtracks

Symphony No 6 in B Minor op. 74 Pathetique
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (as P. Tchaikovsky)
Performed by Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne
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User Reviews

The brilliant, last tragic days of genius Oscar Wilde. Great biopic.
23 October 2018 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

"And all men kill the thing they love/ By all let this be heard/ Some do it with a bitter look/ Some with a flattering word/ The coward does it with a kiss/The brave man with a sword!" Oscar Wilde (Rupert Everett)

Because I am a devoted fan of Oscar Wilde, I had to open this review of The Happy Prince with his famous final stanza from The Ballad of Reading Gaol. It's his wisdom for those foolishly thinking love is always benign, and it signals Wilde's own ironic awareness of his complicity in landing for two deadly years in Reading for gross indecency (homosexuality).

The stanza also may allude to the disaster he brought the many he loved, male and female. As his first and final love, Robbie Ross (Edwin Thomas), declares, "He'll eat you."

The Happy Prince tells of Wilde's last days after his tragic imprisonment; he is subject to taunts even from Parisians, so famous was he round the world. An "exiled fairy" he called himself. Because homosexuality was outlawed in England, it is especially ironic that the once most famous author of the 1890's should be vilified with universal shame.

In 2017 he and other convicted sodomites were pardoned, small comfort to those of us who believe he could have had more greatness like The Importance of Being Earnest and The Ideal Husband to come.

This film carefully chronicles Wilde's self-destructive self-indulgence, living high when he didn't have the funds and returning to the arms of Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas (Colin Morgan), the beautiful young man he loved, whose love cost Wilde the years in jail and everything else. Wilde himself says, "I am my own Judas."

The recurring theme song, "The Boy I Love is Up in the Gallery," resonates with the joy and sorrow he brings to himself. Empathetic director-actor Everett also suffered professionally when he came out at the age of 25. This film, however, should bring him universal acclaim.

That story of Wilde's life is available on film and in biography, but Everett has given us the final period not dramatically and universally enjoyed until now with a fine performance he sharpened from many years playing the doomed wit on stage, set here in Paris, Normandy, and Naples, and set production in Bavaria and Belgium.

This Wilde is disconsolate, weary, and dissolute with not enough of his witticisms and epigrams to my liking. In fact, as seemingly realistic as it is, it is perhaps too gloomy for a general audience. But for literature and art house lovers, it's nectar.

Somewhere in the middle of the film, Wilde says his most famous final words: "I am dying beyond my means. I can't even afford to die. This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go." Wilde is arguably the most quoted author after Shakespeare, and these words show how even death by meningitis can't stop his wit.

BTW: Research his countless epigrams-you'll spend an afternoon in bliss. These are three samples:

"I think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability."

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much."

"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his."

Dorothy Parker gives the ultimate praise:

"If, with the literate, I am Impelled to try an epigram, I never seek to take the credit; We all assume that Oscar said it."


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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

UK | Belgium | Italy | Germany

Language:

Latin | English | French | Italian

Release Date:

10 October 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Happy Prince See more »

Filming Locations:

Bavaria, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$38,886, 14 October 2018

Gross USA:

$466,440

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,621,992
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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