THE HAPPY PRINCE

Cert 15 105 mins Stars 3

This handsome biopic is a tender, sympathetic and bawdy character portrait of the scandal-ridden playwright, Oscar Wilde.

The journey to the big screen has been a decade long passion project for the writer, director and star, Rupert Everett. 

He gives a terrifically complex and rich performance as the self-obsessed 46 year old dandy who is exiled, destitute and debauched in turn-of the-century Paris, following imprisonment for homosexuality.

With Wilde’s reputation, marriage, and career in ruins, and a diet of champagne, cocaine and absinthe having wrecked his health, he begins to re-evaluate his selfish behaviour and life decisions.

Suitably, the film has a visual extravagance which would seem way beyond its means, with the finance depending on Colin Firth appearing in a small role.

Everett sprinkles his script with familiar examples of Wilde’s wit and doesn’t over burden it with plot. Using Wilde’s children’s story, The Happy Prince, as an analogy for the author’s life allows Everett to create an honourable ode to his hero. 

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