You will quickly discover that The Happy Prince is an oxymoron when thinking about the life of Oscar Wilde. In a rundown hotel room in Paris, Wilde, played by British actor Rupert Everett, reminisces on his tragic life from his death bed. The movie’s title is taken from the only children’s book written by Wilde, The Happy Prince and Other Tales, but his own life is anything but happy.
Everett almost singlehandedly took on this rendition of Oscar Wilde’s life by writing, directing and starring in this historical biography. He has a history with Wilde, having appeared in versions of The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband and The Judas Kiss through the years. He passionately channels all sides of Wilde, embracing his charismatic charm, wit, absinthe drinking binges, complicated relationships, way with words, and profound sadness throughout this life.
At the height of his fame in the late 1800s, Wilde went from being one of London’s most celebrated authors to a social outcast when he was sentenced to two years in prison for being in a homosexual affair with the younger Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas, played coquettishly by Irish actor Colin Morgan.
Wilde was also married a wealthy Englishwoman named Constance Lloyd, played expertly by Emily Watson, who loved him until the end, despite all his flaws and weaknesses. They had two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan, with whom he never reconciled.
An Irish poet, playwright and writer, Wilde is a magical storyteller with many regrets, which is conveyed as he weaves his heartbreaking story throughout the dream-like scenes of his life. His most famous novel is The Portrait of Dorian Gray and his best known play is The Importance of Being Earnest. Wilde wrote almost all of his great literary works during a seven year period. He is known for his witty and imaginative writing style. His time in prison made him a broken man, and he died in late 1900, at the early age of 46.
My movie buddy Carolyn and I are always up to learn from a movie based on a true story, and while this movie was eye opening, it made us incredibly sad to see the talented Wilde go from the literary toast of the town to betraying himself with decadent choices.
Movie times: click here
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director: Rupert Everett
Written By: Rupert Everett
Actors: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Emily Watson, Colin Morgan, Edwin Thomas
Running Time: 105 minutes
Rating: R for sexual content, nudity, and language