Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Wilde (1997)
15

An account of the famed writer and wit Oscar Wilde's discovery of his own homosexuality and the abuse he went through when staid Victorian society discovered it. Wilde (Stephen Fry) balances his marriage against his overwhelming love for another man, Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas until Bosie's father tries legal action to stop him.

It's become a cliché to have film trailers begin with words such as "Stephen Fry is Oscar Wilde" but in this case it's true. Fry never appears to be acting at all, so perfect is his performance in the central role. He's right not only in appearance but in how he makes you believe he could have written Wilde's famous barbs and also in how he conveys a longing torment over his various desires.

Oddly for a film about a writer, this is really an actor's movie for the strength of it is chiefly down to Fry and the rest of the cast. Jude Law as Bosie is believably attractive, for instance, while always looking cuttingly capable of malice which adds a frisson to his relationship with Wilde.

It's not a perfect film because it does take quite a while to bring you into the characters' lives and engage you in their fate but when that becomes ominously clear, you're hooked.

November 30th 2000 marks the centenary of Oscar Wilde's death

Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest".

Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray".

End Credits

Director: Brian Gilbert

Writer: Julian Mitchell

Stars: Stephen Fry, Jude Law, Vanessa Redgrave, Jennifer Ehle

Genre: Drama

Length: 117 minutes

Cinema: 1997

DVD: 4 October 1999

VHS: 17 July 2000

Country: UK

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