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Happy Prince, The


Stars: Rupert Everett, Emily Watson, Colin Morgan, Colin Firth, Edwin Thomas, Beatrice Dalle, Tom Wilkinson, Anna Chancellor, Ronald Pickup, Julian Wadham, John Standing

Director: Rupert Everett

Not much happiness on show here, even though the titular story, in itself rather dark, runs through the rather rambling narrative. Everett, who scripts as well as directs, shows us Oscar Wilde in the last declining two years of his life, released from Reading Gaol and now exiled in Paris with friends that are destined to desert him all too soon.

Though still pining for his wife Constance (Watson) and his two sons, Oscar is unable to resist his natural homosexual tendencies, particularly in regard to his ex-lover Bosie (Morgan), the affair with whom got the author and playwright sent to prison in the first place.

Bosie soon reappears, to the chagrin of Robbie Ross (Thomas), who has long loved Oscar, and tries to help him.

Alas, misery piles on misery, as the once-famous writer plunges deeper into dissolution and an apparently inevitable death.

Sombre stuff indeed, as underscored by deep brown photography that's sometimes too dark for its own good. Everett embodies the fading Wilde to the last drop of spittle, and his screenplay is mostly on the mark, if with the occasional lines - 'Yesterday he showed me his vestments' - more appropriate to Carry On Oscar.

Film buffs should look sharp for an appearance by Beatrice Dalle - once compared to Brigitte Bardot - as a cafe proprietress.

David Quinlan

Germany/Belgium/Italy/UK 2018. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour (unspecified).
105 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 09 Jun 2018