The Happy Prince

Certificate 15

(2018) 105 mins

Director: Rupert Everett
Writer: Rupert Everett
Cinematography: John Conroy
Production Design: Brian Morris
Music: Gabriel Yared


The Happy Prince looks at the last days of Oscar Wilde’s life, jumping backwards in time for curated highlights. Wilde stumbles around Paris during his final weeks in a haze, with his robust personality and detached attitude masking a ravaged inner life. The film touches upon the writer’s relationship with his wife Constance (a wonderfully stoic Emily Watson), his friendships with Reggie Turner (Colin Firth) and Robbie Ross (Edwin Thomas), two of the few people who stood by the poet upon his release from prison. There’s also a fair amount of Wilde’s tumultuous and sensual relationship with Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas (Colin Morgan).  But Wilde (Rupert Everett) observes his own failure with ironic distance and regards the difficulties that beset his life with detachment and humor.

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“Everett is beguiling as Wilde, exuding lubricious charm. And this is perhaps how Wilde was, somewhat exploitative when examined objectively, but profoundly talented and charismatic. The English actor has delivered a restrained, lean debut, carefully composing a portrait of the man that is exhaustive without being expansive. The Happy Prince is a film that takes the viewer on an interesting, meandering stroll that only has the occasional stumble, since it can feel a tad overcooked in places. During an argument, Bosie tells Wilde that underneath his pose, he has no substance. This is happily not the case with Everett’s highly enjoyable and sublimely moving tribute.”  The Upcoming

Now, in The Happy Prince,  Everett not only steps into the shoes of the Victorian writer and raconteur but makes his writing and directing debut. The result is a mixed bag, as while Everett the actor masterfully evokes the mournful mix of decadence and decay of the last years of Wilde, Everett the filmmaker is, like so many before him, too much in love with the brilliant old rogue for his own good.”  Eye for Film

“This poignant dramatisation of Wilde’s final years in exile is a powerful parable of passion and redemption”  The Guardian

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