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Overall Rating
3.5

Awesome: 18.75%
Worth A Look: 25%
Average43.75%
Pretty Bad: 12.5%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 20 user ratings


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Wilde
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by Chris Parry

"Lots of naked men, humping and Oscar Wilde quotes, but not much else."
3 stars

As a writer, the story of Oscar Wilde's life, his obsessions and his persecution by the morality brigade are well know to me, so a biopic holds great appeal. There's more than enough of interest in Wilde's illustrious life to make probably three great biopics, but sadly Brian Gilbert's rendition of the great scribe's life seems to be more than a little obsessed with his gay side. Hey, we know the man was that way inclined, and we know his younger lover brought about his downfall (in more ways than one), but then what? What brought him to that point? What happened to him after it? These are parts of Wilde's life ignored, for the most part, by a filmmaker and writing team that seems to only care about who Wilde slept with, not who he was.

Stephen Fry, it must be said, IS Oscar Wilde. His appearance, his delivery of the man's words, his demeanor, his slightly mentally unbalanced reality, Fry could only be considered to be perfect casting here. Not so Jude Law, who's portrayal of Wilde's boy-on-the-side, Bosey, is so one-note and histrionic that you more than a few times expect to see Wilde attack him with a sock full of pennies. Lord, I would have.

On the other side of the sexual coin is Wilde's wife, played here by the beautiful Jennifer Ehle, who took all the insults, innuendo and abuse and stuck by Wilde regardless. Hers, along with Wilde himself, is one of the few three dimensional characters in this film, which gets lost in the same dreary petty details of Wilde's homosexual past that the moralists themselves got stuck on back in the day. Vanessa Redgrave also makes a showing, but an all too brief one for an actress of her stature playing one of the most important women in his life (his mother).

One high point of proceedings is a particularly gruff Tom Wilkinson as the Lord Queensbury, the father of Bosey and Wilde’s arch-nemesis in the fight to clear his name. Wilkinson puffs up like a bullfrog whenever he encounters Wilde and demonstrates that he’s more than the resident English nice guy in Hollywood.

Certainly, Wilde's life was a mixture of sheer joy and sheer torture, and when Gilbert allows the camera to explore beyond the surface you're drawn right in, but just as quickly you're out again, as Bosey twats about in his rent-boy suit with his rent-boy hair and compels everyone to "look at me."

A depressing failure in terms of what could have been, Wilde is nonetheless an interesting film if you know Wilde's work, but having given the world such works as The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, the Portrait of Dorian Gray and Salomé, some of us would expect the man to be given something a little closer in quality in return.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=154&reviewer=1
originally posted: 09/10/02 08:20:43
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User Comments

4/04/12 Jennifer Ehle Wonderful performances BUT was Wilde's wife really that dumb? 4 stars
3/04/11 Bridget Well done by all, but was his wife as dopey as depicted in this movie? 4 stars
6/04/06 Hanah A fantastic film which makes you laugh and cry, the acting is superb. A must see! 5 stars
5/19/05 Guglielmo I hung onto every mesmerizing piece of dialogue. Fantastic, intellectual film. 5 stars
12/12/04 alex interesting. a bit one-sided, but interesting nonetheless 4 stars
12/11/04 Loho Very good film 4 stars
9/26/04 Bucky Buckner Boone Wilde was Wild 4 stars
12/07/02 Kyle Great performances. And Law is always fun to look at! 5 stars
9/19/02 Andre nked men...yumyum, but boring as hell 2 stars
9/10/02 Charles Tatum Excellent; Most see just the gay Wilde, he was a great writer 5 stars
8/26/00 NoRefill Not an Oscar Wilde fan. It put me to sleep ... twice. 2 stars
3/25/00 perverted pixie Lots of queers and sharpe quotes- I like it! 4 stars
2/17/00 Bozo Fry was born to play this part; liked Jude & Ioan Gruffudd & the fuck scenes 5 stars
10/11/99 Weird Andy A lame-o flick about everyone's favorite Victorian pillow biter. 2 stars
10/06/99 Bill Eadie A great film depicting the tension between the esthetic and ethical life 5 stars
6/24/99 hum should have been great. wasnt. 3 stars
2/25/99 davebo Felt like a gay porno/soap opera, Fry good, movie bad 2 stars
2/01/99 Bridgette great performances. love the oscar wilde story in general. 4 stars
12/01/98 Mr.Pink Fry was excellent, but Law is one-note and it's kind of soapy. 3 stars
8/20/98 The Man With The Helmet Stephen Fry is awesome. The movie, less so. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  01-May-1998 (R)
  DVD: 19-Mar-2002

UK
  N/A

Australia
  15-Jan-1998 (MA)




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