The Happy Prince

Director: Rupert Everett

Starring: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Colin Morgan, Edwin Thomas, Emily Watson

IMDB Rating: 6.7/10

Seveno Rating: 6/10

Rupert Everett writes, directs, and stars in this Oscar Wilde biopic. The film follows Wilde after his release from prison, exploring how his life is changed after the scandal, and his relationships with those around him. Now a free man, Wilde moves to France, with his friends Reggie (Firth) and Robbie (Thomas) helping him to set up a new life and start again under a new name. In spite of attempts to reconnect with his wife (Watson), Wilde quickly falls back into old habits.

It’s difficult to actually write a review on a film like this, as its so beautifully mediocre there isn’t really much to say. I was very, very excited for this film, as it was Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest which first ignited my love of literature, and I am a sucker for a good biopic or period drama. I was excited to see Firth (one of my favourite actors) and Everett act alongside one another again, intrigued to learn more about how Wilde’s life changed following imprisonment, and how he managed to move on from such a scandal.

Of course, the acting is brilliant. Everett shines as Wilde, and while the other actors play their roles brilliantly, Everett really is the star of the show. However, one can’t help but feel that the film is a tad self-indulgent, with Everett taking on, not only the leading role of Wilde, but also that of director and writer.

But for me, the film really fell flat when it came to the plot. I failed to connect with any of the characters, and felt that the film lacked the emotional integrity that a story line like this has the potential to achieve. It was neither political, nor inspiring, nor heartbreaking. Indeed, there was not much plot at all. I feel that the film failed to capture Wilde’s sense of loss, or the pain that he experienced when on trial and imprisoned. Emily Watson’s Constance Wilde, nay Holland, played a small role, when perhaps more of a focus on her experiences might have enhanced the emotionality of the film.

There is nothing explicitly wrong with this film, however I really struggled to focus, and would have loved more from this film. More emotion, more content, more detail. I heard somewhere that The Happy Prince was the longest death scene in film, and I can tell you that, for me, it honestly felt that way.

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