The story of Oscar Wilde, genius, poet, playwright and the First Modern Man. The self-realization of his homosexuality caused Wilde enormous torment as he juggled marriage, fatherhood and ...
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The story of Oscar Wilde, genius, poet, playwright and the First Modern Man. The self-realization of his homosexuality caused Wilde enormous torment as he juggled marriage, fatherhood and responsibility with his obsessive love for Lord Alfred Douglas, nicknamed Bosie. After legal action instigated by Bosie's father, the enraged Marquise of Queensberry, Wilde refused to flee the country and was sentenced to two years at hard labor by the courts of an intolerant Victorian society. Written by
Peter Samuelson <email@example.com>
This film was one of the best to appear in the late 90s, and is a sensitive, involving, honest and moving biography of one of the greatest writers of the Victorian era, the infamous Oscar Wilde.
More realistic and better played than previous studies of the writer (Robert Morley and Peter Finch both played Wilde in the 1950s), this film benefits greatly from a cracking performance by Stephen Fry in the lead. Not even regarded as an actor, more of a comedian, prior to this, Fry (himself gay, and something of an intellectual) puts across all the nuances and contradictions of the subject perfectly.
This Wilde is torn between what is accepted love (his wife, and children), and the 'love that dare not speak its name' (primarily his destructive relationship with the needy, selfish and petulant Lord Alfred Douglas, played here by Jude Law in the role which brought him to world attention). We see his charm and conviction when creating his plays or amusing friends, we also see his weaker side and why he was the cause of his own eventual arrest and imprisonment, we see how prison changed him and - as he wrote himself in De Profundis - broke his spirit and his health.
Watch out for other, now big, names in the cast - Ioan Gruffudd, Michael Sheen, Orlando Bloom - alongside the established players such as Vanessa Redgrave (Oscar's mother, Sperenza), Jennifer Ehle (Lady Constance Wilde), Tom Wilkinson (Marquess of Queensbury, Bosie's father), Gemma Jones (Bosie's mother), and Judy Parfitt.
A fitting musical score, a smattering of Wilde's epigrams, and a large chunk of his children's story 'The Selfish Giant' (driving and commenting on the action at key points) leave this film close to perfection when detailing the story of the misunderstanding of another age, not too far back from our own.
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