Wilde (1997) Review

The story of Oscar Wilde’s personal life as he explored his homosexuality and the pressure this placed on his marriage, being a father and writing his poetry and plays.

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Considering Oscar Wilde is regarded as one of the best English writers I was expecting a little bit more focus on his literary genius. It went more down the route of trying to shock with some of the sex scenes which I didn’t feel that was necessary. The focus fully on sex when surely that is not the only way of exploring your sexuality? I just felt some of it was a little bit tasteless, which was a shame really.

The sexual awakening coming from Robbie Ross who is quickly and easily replaced by others who seem to be a little bit younger as John Gray becomes the next but then everything is thrown up in the air when Lord Alfred Douglas comes on the scene, known as Bosie. He is like a spoilt child and demands money and more from Oscar, trying to keep him away from his family. It is very much a toxic relationship from the start and difficult to see or feel any love at all between the two men. Which raises the question on if this is a good thing or not, one of the reasons it made me doubt the focus of the whole film.

At this time homosexuality was illegal and he did end up arrest and being in prison spending his remaining few days in a cell then moving to Paris on his release. It was far from a happy and easy life but I still feel the film missed out quite a lot of actual good from his plays and poetry.

Wilde has been a film that has been on my radar for years now, mainly due to the fact that this was Orlando Bloom’s first film appearance in which he has one line and is credited as “Rent Boy” and in actual fact I had seen that clip and therefore all of his role. But they all have to start somewhere right? I had no idea that this was also an early role for Ioan Gruffudd who had quite a small part. Then quite a big role for Michael Sheen in terms of film, so getting to see all of these early performances was probably the best thing about it in all honesty.

Jude Law must have been at the height of his attractiveness as Bosie right? Well, I thought so although what an obnoxious and annoyingly pathetic character. So we can say that was a good performance? Stephen Fry was probably the best possible choice to take on Oscar Wilde although I felt that he was too old for the younger years, as nothing was done in an attempt to change this, he was the right age for the latter years though so will give them that. Tom Wilkinson was a bit of a scene stealer though so throughly enjoyed each time he popped up on screen.

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