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.
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
Rupert Everett fulfils a long-held ambition here to make a film about the last days of Oscar Wilde, and in the title role he is simply terrific - he is never off the screen. To write it and direct it as well, however, is to take on too much; indeed the need for an objective view is often apparent when it comes to narrative and structure. The film starts slowly (with a dreadful cardboard cut-out of London by night that could have taken from Olivier's wartime Henry V) and it's some time before the flashbacks (and flashbacks within flashbacks) begin. Supporting performances, especially from Colin Morgan as Bosie and Emily Watson (under-used) as Constance, are excellent and the photography,(particularly in the Italian sequences) beautiful, though I found the half-shadows of the faces in the candlelight rather tiresome. I must add that, for someone who is penniless and constantly on the run, Wilde does possess a large wardrobe. There is more humour than one might expect (I won't spoil your enjoyment by quoting any of the jokes but I found the sequence where the priest (Tom Wilkinson) comes to give Wilde the extreme unction especially hilarious). Great attention is paid to the soundtrack, but why the use of Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony at the end? All in all a fine effort, but I did leave the cinema strangely unmoved.
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