Run time: 105 mins
A sensational Rupert Everett writes, stars and directs this flamboyant biopic, detailing the ignominious final years of Oscar Wilde.
Named after Wilde’s short story for children, which he tells over the course of the film, the writer battles to emerge from the darkness of his disgrace.
Offering a surprising and courageously unflattering portrait of Wilde’s post-prison existence in France and Italy, The Happy Prince puts its subject under intense scrutiny. His treatment is unforgivable but he’s undone by his own weakness, striking up a friendship with two urchins he extracts sexual favours from the elder, while playing fatherly storyteller to the younger. And, although prone to resilient demonstrations of strength, he is nevertheless mired in self-pity, venting his anger on those who love him most.
“A powerful parable of passion and redemption” (Guardian)
The tone throughout is sympathetic and Everett captures all the sadness of a fallen star, chiefly the despicable way Wilde is treated by the public and criminal justice system. It is his show really, igniting the spark behind Wilde’s sorrow to light the way for the story to progress. (research Chris Coetsee). Everett was born to play Wilde, and a fantastic, out of the attic, portrait he paints.
A huge achievement. Come.