Critic Reviews



Based on 26 critic reviews provided by
This film is a deeply felt, tremendously acted tribute to courage.
The Happy Prince proves that a film can be both bleak and warm-spirited, as befits its mighty subject.
Wilde’s mighty struggle with himself, with his heavenly talent and earthly lusts, and the meaning of it all resonates so strongly with the direction and performance that The Happy Prince is easily elevated past period Victoriana (and that wallpaper) to move and engage in equal parts.
Even if his prosthetics make him look a bit like James May, Everett is near-flawless, and his film is a superb showcase for an actor whose celebrity has at times overshadowed his talent. There’s been plenty of due diligence in terms of the details, and anyone who thinks Wilde was just the Stephen Fry of his day will learn a lot here.
Despite Everett's command in the central performance and a script liberally sprinkled with amusing bons mots, The Happy Prince generates only faltering dramatic momentum and a shortage of pathos.
As a final, permanent showcase for a role Everett was born to play, then, The Happy Prince does the job. For all its passion-project hallmarks, however, it makes a shakier case for him being the filmmaker to bring it to screen.
Everett overdoes the lachrymosity right at the end, the one part of the film where a more subdued rigour would have served him better. At the very least, though, it’s a command performance he puts in front of us, an uncompromising feat of empathy in the role he’s made his own more than any other.
The Happy Prince largely amounts to a bland rumination on Wilde’s lesser-known decline.
It’s well crafted and compelling at times thanks mostly to the casts’ efforts, but there is an emptiness that permeates through the film as if a significant piece of Wilde’s demise is missing.
Slant Magazine
For every haunting sequence in The Happy Prince, there’s five that redundantly wallow in Oscar Wilde’s misery, which is Rupert Everett’s point, but it becomes wearisome.

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