The Happy Prince - This Movie Rocks Wilde-ly
Directed by, written by, produced by, catered by and starring Rupert Everett
Also starring Colin Firth, Colin Morgan, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Beatrice Dalle
Rupert Everett has spent ten years bringing his Oscar Wilde dream project to life. And it’s something of an achievement, particularly where his central performance is concerned. He is on career-best form as the writer and poet, capturing the decline and fall of his final two years, the period after his release from Reading goal, where he was essentially incarcerated for admitting his homosexuality, through to his eventual death in exile. His take on Wilde ranges from defiance to consumptive, from great wit to fallen man, imbuing it all with the sadness of someone who realises his own failure, his own tragic flaw, and seems all too accepting of his inevitable and looming demise.
As a writer and director, Everett also shows a strong affinity for his material and subject, naturally, but is less assured. His sense of place and time is strong, and it’s definitely a beautiful film visually. But at times it indulges – which may well be the intent, to reflect that of it subject. But it can leave the viewer less supportive at times that you feel is intended.
However, he has assembled an impressive supporting cast of those who remained loyal and strong in Wilde’s life as it came to a close – Firth and Watson in particular, and has a strong thorn in his loving side in Colin Morgan as the ultimately brattish Bosie.
At times uneven, but always pure of heart, Everett’s film is ultimately a showcase for his own performance. And it is a tremendous performance.
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