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Rupert Everett writes, directs and stars in this drama about Oscar Wilde’s dying days. In the film’s clunky frame narrative, Everett’s Wilde tells his story in Paris, where he lives in exile for “gross indecency with men”; the rest takes place as a series of flashbacks, hallucinations and memories that oscillate between decadence and destitution.
Here, his life is defined by two very different love affairs: a passionate, turbulent romance with golden-haired pretty boy Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas (Colin Morgan) and a deep bond with Robbie Ross (Edwin Thomas), the critic who took on the role of Wilde’s literary executor as well as friend and lover.
Everett’s familiarity with Wilde’s work means that he gets the lyrical patter just right and his connection to the character feels genuine. A shame, then, that the film’s formal qualities are so distracting. From its prettified palette of honeyed yellows, jewel-bright turquoises and pebble-greys, to the overuse of dissolves to get in and out of scenes, each frame feels showy – in love with itself rather than in service of the story. “Underneath the prose, there is no substance,” accuses one of Wilde’s critics, as though pre-empting the film’s own foibles.
Source: The Guardian
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