I shuddered at the thought of having to watch a movie about Oscar Wilde. I knew him as the nemesis of my youth: my high school teacher made us memorize all of “The Canterville Ghost”. I still remember the opening page to this day.
Then of course I always appreciated the wit that suffuses his writing. He succeeds in being superficial, deep, amusing, and cynical all in one sentence. What do you do with quips like: “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance?”
Well, the movie. I confess Stephen Fry (who plays Oscar Wilder himself) is an excellent look-alike. The original looks a little more spent and ‘over it’, but the smile does the role very well, and we get to like this weird poet and his constant escapades.
There are tons of quotes from Wilde’s work interweaved, and they work very well. A lot of the dialog, indeed, works very well and complements a unique character.
Jude Law did a very good spoiled brat in adolescent rebellion. Vanessa Redgrave has a nice cameo role. All in all, the acting was very sympathetic, and I was left with the impression of a movie that tried to rally people to a cause (Oscar Wilde) that is dead over a hundred years.