6.9/10
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136 user 103 critic

An Ideal Husband (1999)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Romance | 30 June 1999 (USA)
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London 1895: Cabinet minister, Sir Chiltern, and bachelor, Lord Goring, are victims of scheming women.

Director:

Oliver Parker

Writers:

Oscar Wilde (play), Oliver Parker (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 4 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Vaughan ... Phipps
Rupert Everett ... Lord Arthur Goring
Minnie Driver ... Miss Mabel Chiltern
Cate Blanchett ... Lady Gertrude Chiltern
Ben Pullen ... Tommy Trafford
Marsha Fitzalan ... Countess
Julianne Moore ... Mrs. Laura Cheveley
Lindsay Duncan ... Lady Markby
Neville Phillips Neville Phillips ... Mason
John Wood ... Lord Caversham
Jeremy Northam ... Sir Robert Chiltern
Nickolas Grace Nickolas Grace ... Vicomte de Nanjac
Simon Russell Beale ... Sir Edward
Anna Patrick ... Miss Danvers
Delia Lindsay ... Lady Basildon
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

He just doesn't know it yet.

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 June 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Un esposo ideal See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£492,309 (United Kingdom), 18 April 1999, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$198,802, 18 June 1999

Gross USA:

$18,535,191, 3 October 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first of three films based on works by Oscar Wilde directed by Oliver Parker. The other two are The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) and Dorian Gray (2009). See more »

Goofs

At the reception at the Chiltern's home, Sir Robert is requested to meet the Indian Ambassador. In 1895 India was a British possession and there could not be such an Ambassador who represents only independent states. See more »

Quotes

Gertrude: Yes, Arthur, it is Robert himself who wishes to retire from public life.
Lord Arthur Goring: Rather than risk losing your love, he would do anything. Has he not been punished enough?
Gertrude: We've both been punished. I set him up too high.
Lord Arthur Goring: Do not set him down now too low.
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 »

Connections

Remake of An Ideal Husband (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Superb filmmaking
19 January 2000 | by FlickJunkie-2See all my reviews

To say that this film is a filmmaking tour de force would be a great injustice. It is far better than that. Oliver Parker's revitalizing of Oscar Wilde's classic play is filmmaking at its finest.

Every element of this film is superlative. Wilde's story as adapted to the screen by Parker is witty, intelligent and engaging from start to finish. Seldom can you find a story that attempts to be a romantic comedy, a tale of duplicity blackmail and betrayal, and a drama of political intrigue, and succeeds so well on all counts.

The intricate weave of deception, manipulation and double entendre along with comic misperception, irony and rapier witted dialogue are delicious and classic Wilde. This is a film you will want to see again and again, just to discover all the lines within the lines.

I cannot say enough about the brilliance of Oliver Parker's direction in this film. He has captured late 19th Century aristocratic England with vivid and rich images that put the viewer right into the period. David Johnson's cinematography is fantastic, with every scene working well as to lighting and color. The beautiful blend of colors in the costumes and the set always looked like they belonged together. Parker also provides numerous interesting camera angles that help dramatize the scenes. It serves to remind us that glorious films can still be made relying on the creative eye of the director rather than special effects.

The acting was delightful. Rupert Everett, as the self absorbed Lord Arthur Goring, delivers an exquisite performance as the unscrupulous rogue upon whom the mantle of truth and honor is laid.

Julianne Moore was delightful as the evil and cunning Mrs. Cheveley. As cold, manipulative and heartless as she is with Chiltern and Lady Chiltern, she is that vulnerable and helpless with Lord Goring, for whom she has long held a flame. Moore handles this emotional juggling act with great skill and you find yourself simultaneously loving her ingeniousness and hating her treachery.

Cate Blanchett turns in another wonderful performance as the oh-so-perfect, Lady Gertrud Chiltern. Jeremy Northam is also excellent as Robert Chiltern, the man of untouchable character with a scandalous secret in his past. Even Minnie Driver is charming as Robert's sister.

This is a terrific film for the refined viewer who appreciates all aspects of filmmaking. Even for those not into the art of filmmaking, it is simply great entertainment. I can think of no negative criticism of it. It is well written, directed, photographed and acted. It is filmmaking the way it was meant to be. A perfect 10.


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