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Drama - Historic

The Happy Prince (2019 in Spain)


Duration 1h 45m Rating (UK) 15
Source of story The possible last three yeas of the life of Oscar Wilde
Director Rupert Everett
Writers/Script Rupert Everett
Starring Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Colin Morgan, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Anna Chancellor, Ronald Pickup

Elevator Pitch: Oscar Wilde is released from jail and takes up residence in Paris, he is helped by his literary agent and a friend, but against their advice resumes his affair with Alfred Lord Douglas, Bosie, the reason for his incarceration. As a result his small allowance from his wife is withdrawn and, after they move to Naples, Bosie also loses his allowance, leaving them penniless. In order to regain his support Bosie leaves Wilde, and he descends into poverty and drunkeness, and as his health fails it seesm unlikely tht he will survive.

Content: There are scenes indicating the intent to engage in homosexual sex, with accompanying male nudity, and a great deal of drinking, mainly of absinth. Also quite a bit if smoking. There are flashbacks to happier times as Wilde tells his children the story of the happy prince, and also what he regarded as his worst moment as he waits as a prisoner on a railway platform chained to a warder. He is also chased by some unpleasant young men, and threanened by members of the establishment.

A View: There are a lot of arresting scenes, most of them in flashback, because we join the narrative close to the writer’s death. This results in what appear to be sketches with limited relationship to each other. Since we know how it ends, is it necessary to have a plot? Some scriptwriters have managed it, but not Rupert Everett, and honestly these pet projects with an actor/writer/director filling all the roles are not often successful. Despite these negative comments the film was well liked by the critics, so maybe a view for the price of a download.

Additional Info: I have been a bit mischevious in including here part of the poster with a comment attributed to Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian. The words are so positive that I decided to look up the original comment, which relates to the telling of the tale of the Happy Prince. Compare the two. “the tale becomes an ambiguous parable for Wilde’s passion and (possible) redemption”.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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