Oscar Wilde Reborn in New Film

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Oscar Wilde Reborn in New Film

Charlotte Aexel, Arts and Culture Reporter

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As an active fan of Oscar Wilde and a dedicated Bunburyist, I was perfectly thrilled when I learned there was to be a film detailing the final days of Wilde’s tumultuous life. I had memorized the date ‘October 10’ back in July, and had counted the days, until I could see the film, titled, The Happy Prince, after one of his short stories.  When I realized that since the movie was a bit under-promoted in the United States, and it would be an even longer time before I saw the movie, I had been extraordinarily upset. I watched it debut in New York, then in Los Angeles, and just when I’d begun to lose hope, my aunt found it in an obscure theatre just an hour away from my house.

The film is told in flashbacks, beginning with Wilde in Paris, hobbling about the streets at night, accepting whatever he can get in cash from near strangers, and from there, it shows his downfall, and its aftermath: his dying relationship with Alfred “Bosie” Douglas and his struggling one with his wife, Constance, as well as with friends, such as Robbie Ross. Oscar Wilde, in case you don’t know, was a celebrated author in the latter part of the nineteenth – century. He wrote plays, poetry, short stories, and one novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, which all gleam with his sharp wit and full heart. In the middle of 1891, Wilde was introduced to Lord Alfred Douglas, with whom he carried on an exciting yet tempestuous affair, eventually landing him in court, facing charges of “gross indecency,” for which he was sentenced to two years of hard labor. After this, Wilde’s life was a downhill spiral, given his contraction of meningitis while in prison, at which point the movie’s flashbacks begin.

Not only is the film about an interesting and relevant story, but with Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde, the acting is simply superb. Everett, who has a history of participating in Oscar Wilde themed productions, such as an award-winning play and renditions of Wilde’s various works, gives a convincing performance, giving the audience the chance to see Wilde in a new light that separates the care-free attitude of his early life with his final years. Of course, the film (also written by Everett), was well-researched, in the way that he spoke and moved as Oscar, portraying his illness, and correctly evoking sympathy from the audience. Colin Morgan played Alfred Douglas, Wilde’s most famous lover, perfectly, causing the audience to fall in love with him, before revealing his true colors as he neglects Wilde when he’s struggling. With even more famous names like Emily Watson and Colin Firth, the acting was all solid in its accuracy and believability.

Oscar Wilde’s story is particularly stirring because Wilde was one of those personalities that is simply one in a million. He laughs until the end, smiles in spite of his suffering, and makes being different look like a walk down the red carpet. But the movie did something extraordinary. It recognized Wilde’s larger-than-life personality while also brought him down to earth, keeping him human for the audience. The film draws parallels between his life, and a few of his works — The Happy Prince, of course, but also The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a poem he wrote in prison. These connections tie the film together perfectly.

With a star – studded cast, a relevant and stirring topic, a well – written screenplay and extraordinary direction, the film The Happy Prince gives the audience both laughter and tears, all while bringing Oscar Wilde back to life once more.

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About the Writer
Charlotte Aexel, Reporter

Charlotte Aexel is a sophomore at Brookfield Academy and is excited to participate in her first year on the Newspaper staff. She will be writing reviews...

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