In a cheap Parisian hotel room Oscar Wilde lies on his death bed. The past floods back, taking him to other times and places. Was he once the most famous man in London? The artist crucified by a society that once worshipped him? Under the microscope of death he reviews the failed attempt to reconcile with his long suffering wife Constance, the ensuing reprisal of his fatal love affair with Lord Alfred Douglas and the warmth and devotion of Robbie Ross, who tried and failed to save him from himself. Travelling through Wilde's final act and journeys through England, France and Italy, the transience of lust is laid bare and the true riches of love are revealed. It is a portrait of the dark side of a genius who lived and died for love.
Rupert Everett (Oscar Wilde), Colin Firth (Reggie Turner), Emily Watson (Constance Wilde), Colin Morgan (Alfred Bosie Douglas), Edwin Thomas (Robbie Ross), Tom Wilkinson (Fr Dunne), Anna Chancellor (Mrs. Arbuthnott), Julian Wadham (Top Hat), Béatrice Dalle (Café Manager), Antonio Spagnuolo (Felice (as Antonio Spagnulo)), André Penvern (Mr. Dupoirier), Franca Abategiovanni (Felice's Mother), Thierry de Coster (Henri The Waiter), Joshua McGuire (Ambrose Smithers), Kit Lloyd (Undergraduate), Jacky Druaux (Manager Hotel Sandwich), Sam Perry (Undergraduate), Sam Barrett (Undergraduate), Aymeric Bolé (A Hotel's Guest), Christian Bronchart (Customer Café de Paris and interacting with Oscar Wilde), Jean-Luc Bubert (Man with tart), Alister Cameron (Mr. Howard), Oliver Cater (Cyril Holland), Tom Colley (Maurice Gilbert), Laurent D'Elia (Rouen Station announcer)...
Rupert Everett (written by)
Azim Bolkiah (executive producer), Bettina Brokemper (service producer: germany), David Colby (associate producer), Carlo Degli Esposti (co-producer), Sébastien Delloye (producer), Ged Doherty (executive producer), Diana Elbaum (associate producer), Connie Filipello (executive producer), Colin Firth (co-producer), Robert Fox (associate producer)...
Rupert Everett was born to play Oscar Wilde, at least the older Wilde, (Everett is now 59). I'd already seen him play Wilde on stage, magnificently, in David Hare's "The Judas Kiss"; now he has written and directed the film "The Happy Prince" which deals in large part, (it's mostly told in flashback), with the period after his release from Reading Gaol. He, of course, takes on the role of Wilde once again and gives the kind of performance that should get him an Oscar of a different kind.
This is no vanity project but one full of passion and love of his subject. He gives us an Oscar that is vain, glorious and in the throes of the most terrible pain; this is an Oscar warts and all. He dominates every frame of the picture but has also assembled a superb supporting cast. Both Colin Morgan as Bosie and Edwin Thomas as Robbie Ross are splendid but so too are Emily Watson as Constance, Colin Firth as Reggie Turner, John Standing as his doctor and Tom Wilkinson as the priest who gives him the last rites. These may amount to nothing more than cameos but what glorious cameos they are. This is an actor's piece and no mistake.
However, for a work that is primarily literary and for a first-time director Everett also displays a very keen visual eye. This is a handsome period piece but far from a stuffy one. Everett manages to capture the flavour of Oscar's rise and fall beautifully. Here is a film that is heartbreakingly sad and strangely uplifting at the same time, a real testament to Wilde's genius, (it's certainly the best Wilde movie to date), and one of the best LGBT-themed films of recent times. Unmissable.
Щастливият принц (Bulgaria (Bulgarian title)) • The Happy Prince - L'ultimo ritratto di Oscar Wilde (Italy) • Szczesliwy ksiaze (Poland) • The Happy Prince (USA)
Maze Pictures (production company), Entre Chien et Loup, Palomar (co-production), Cine Plus Filmproduktion (co-production), Robert Fox Limited (co-production), BBC Films (in co-production with), Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (support), Daryl Prince Productions (in association with), Heimatfilm (service production company), Raindog Films (in association with)
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