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.
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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
Director Rupert Everett had written promises from his friends Colin Firth and Emily Watson that they would participate in this movie if he ever got it made. Even when Firth became famous and his busy schedule made it unsure if he would be able to keep his promise, Everett got people to participate by stating that Firth had already signed on. See more »
Oscar is shown at Clapham Junction in prison garb with the number 33. He is on the way to Reading Gaol where he is assigned cell C33. See more »
Rupert Everett was born to play Oscar Wilde, at least the older Wilde, (Everett is now 59). I'd already seen him play Wilde on stage, magnificently, in David Hare's "The Judas Kiss"; now he has written and directed the film "The Happy Prince" which deals in large part, (it's mostly told in flashback), with the period after his release from Reading Gaol. He, of course, takes on the role of Wilde once again and gives the kind of performance that should get him an Oscar of a different kind.
This is no vanity project but one full of passion and love of his subject. He gives us an Oscar that is vain, glorious and in the throes of the most terrible pain; this is an Oscar warts and all. He dominates every frame of the picture but has also assembled a superb supporting cast. Both Colin Morgan as Bosie and Edwin Thomas as Robbie Ross are splendid but so too are Emily Watson as Constance, Colin Firth as Reggie Turner, John Standing as his doctor and Tom Wilkinson as the priest who gives him the last rites. These may amount to nothing more than cameos but what glorious cameos they are. This is an actor's piece and no mistake.
However, for a work that is primarily literary and for a first-time director Everett also displays a very keen visual eye. This is a handsome period piece but far from a stuffy one. Everett manages to capture the flavour of Oscar's rise and fall beautifully. Here is a film that is heartbreakingly sad and strangely uplifting at the same time, a real testament to Wilde's genius, (it's certainly the best Wilde movie to date), and one of the best LGBT-themed films of recent times. Unmissable.
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