Wilde - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Wilde Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 27, 2008
The acting was good, but Jude Law's character is so whiny and hateful, it's almost like watching two hours of an abusive relationship.
Super Reviewer
May 16, 2007
A melodrama with a wonderful portray of Wilde, but lacking the signature Wilde wit.

Fry is genius, Law is less than desirable
Super Reviewer
½ March 26, 2007
Biopic of a genuis, starring a genius.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ July 16, 2014
Man, Stephen Fry is so convincing in this role that I guess one might say that he was "born to be Wilde"! Well, that was a lame insult to a pretty cool lyric, and it's not even an accurate statement, because from what I see in this poster, if anyone's going to Oscar Wilde, it's Gene [u]Wilde[/u]r. Wilde is just kind of struttin' around, looking like he's on his way to the chocolate factory, but hey, I won't cramp this Wilde child's style. These song references are proving to be gayer than Oscar Wilde, although, in all fairness, Wilde was only bisexual, heavy on the flamboyance. He was like Freddie Mercury, in that we always kind of forget that he liked women every now and then, too, so maybe it is perfect that Stephen Fry is Wilde, because I always kind of forget that he's gay. I guess it's a pretty good sign that he played Oscar Wilde at one point, although, it's not like anyone remembers or even saw this film, oddly enough. You'd figure the big biopic on Oscar Wilde would receive more attention, but then again, in all fairness, it has some issues to keep you distant.

Issues regarding pacing and structural tightness are among the more considerable in this film, which promises to be rather extensive as a biopic, only to succumb to anything from repetitious filler, - at its worst with the forceful and recurrent insertion of a recital of Oscar Wilde's own short story "The Selfish Giant" - to meandering material whose being backed by steady directorial storytelling by Brian Gilbert leads to moderate bland spells. Of course, more distancing than the excessive dragging is the overt tightening, because although I boast about a potential of depth, at just shy of two hours, this interpretation of an almost grand portrait on a tragic figure stands to be more fleshed out, often falling pretty flat in expository depth, particularly when it comes to character motivations that should be thoroughly important in a drama of this nature. The film is limiting potential enough by conceptually simply studying on Oscar Wilde's sexual revelations and their subsequent consequences, rather than the whole of his brilliant life and tragic downfall, but when it comes to the execution, not enough studying is done in this often inspired, and just as often undercooked character drama which at least finds superficiality in its resonance. With all my griping about the slow spells, the film is so colorful largely because it gets to be so sentimental, perhaps too much so, having a tendency to overplay Debbie Wiseman's lovely, yet formulaic and overwrought score, as well as certain other heavy-handed elements, until subtlety buckles under the weight of both overambition and laziness. Of course, reflections on laziness are as clear as they ever are when found within the conventionalism of the storytelling, which, no matter how intriguing in a lot of ways, hits trope after trope as a very '90s biographical drama, - complete with the sentimentality - even if it does so with a little more structural unevenness than usual. This film could have gone quite a distance, and it does have the heart to do so, but not the consistency, because, when it's all said and done, the pacing is too uneven, the narrative too undercooked, and the dramatics being too overambitious to transcend sentimentality, yet still too lazy to transcend formula, for the final product to truly reward. With all of that said, the film does come close enough to engage throughout its course, with color, intrigue and, of course, good looks.

Although it might not be particularly remarkable, Martin Fuhrer's cinematography offers plenty of subtle emphasis on lighting which handsomely polishes art direction by Sarah Hauldren and Martyn John that captures Britain during the latter 19th century distinctly enough to be attractive, if not immersive. Production value is pretty solid throughout the film, augmenting a certain handsome visual style that in turn augments entertainment value, which, of course, needs substance in order to thrive, at least in concept. There's a certain minimalism to this story concept that is exacerbated by its interpretations own limp areas, but Oscar Wilde's personal story is as captivating as any of his stories, particularly during its climax, which shines an almost haunting light on dark secrets and how society interprets them, and establishes a pretty solid deal of potential, done a degree of justice and injustice by either overambitious or lazy storytelling. Julian Mitchell's script tends to drag its feet, if not cut short a lot of expository depth, but it keeps consistent on razor-sharp dialogue, occasionally broken up by witty humor that puts a bit of kick in the slower spots, about as much as highlights in Brian Gilbert's direction which break up slow spells and sentimentality with occasions of color and effective thoughtfulness. If nothing else, the film is pretty entertaining, and when dramatic highlights come into play, glimpses into what could have been sparks brightly enough to help endear, maybe not thoroughly enough for the final product to reward, but decidedly enough to hold a fair deal of your attention in this improvable character study. What human intrigue there is finds itself secured by consistently inspired performances, the highlights of which include the dashing, then-up-and-coming Jude Law as Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas, - a man who must choose between embracing his lover and escaping the tragic fate of this lover - and, of course, leading man Stephen Fry, whose capturing of Oscar Wilde's classic charisma, broken by a profound vulnerability which Fry captures through striking dramatic layers, molds a leading man more consistently engrossing than the film itself. These and other powerful performances do much to keep the heart of this drama beating, and although they cannot filter out the shortcomings, they join inspiration found off of the screen in making an endearing, if improvable final product.

Once the curtains are drawn, potential finds itself too obscured by slow spells, considerable underdevelopment, overbearing points of sentimentality, and conventionalism for the final product to truly reward, but on the backs of handsome cinematography and art direction, clever highlights in writing, tasteful highlights in direction, and strong performances, - particularly those by Jude Law and Stephen Fry - Brain Gilbert's "Wilde" emerges as a plenty decent and often effective study on the fall from grace of the late, great Oscar Wile, even though it too falls from grace at times.

2.75/5 - Decent
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2009
Great acting by WIlkinson, Law and Fry can't save this plot-less biopic from joining all the others in Mediocre-Biopic Land
Super Reviewer
February 27, 2006
Stephen Fry IS Oscar Wilde, Jude Law is amazing and Orlando Bloom is amusing; wish I'd seen this before LOTR and POTC, then I wouldn't have fallen for him. But this film is severely flawed. For enthusiasm this film gets a 10, for character study and loyalty it should get 33 and for Orlando Bloom -126.
Super Reviewer
September 29, 2007
I could care less about his sex life, I thought this movie was going to be a biography, we only see a piece of his life and I was bored watching it.
Super Reviewer
June 6, 2007
Well, what an amazing character study. And Stephen Fry is amazing.

A must see.
Super Reviewer
½ March 25, 2007
Wilde was a brilliant man and so is this film.
March 14, 2015
This biopic focuses on the point in Oscar WIlde's life where he was composing The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Salome, The Importance Of Being Earnest, and all the other works that he is best known for. Unfortunately, his (poorly) closeted homosexuality gets him into legal trouble from the class-conscious prudes of Victorian England. Stephen Fry leads a distinguished cast that includes Jude Law, Vanessa Redgrave, and Tom WIlkinson. Insights into Wilde's literature are sparse, but overall this film is an affecting effort that should strike a chord with literary mavens, fans of period dramas, and activists within the LGBT community.
June 3, 2014
Fantastic acting, writing and directing. Beautifully shot. Cohesive story about a very interesting man, and the scandal of the day.
½ September 16, 2007
Between a 6/10 and 7/10, Stephen Fry brings a depth and gentleness to the role that says what can be said about Oscar Wilde: that he was a funny and gifted idealist in a society that valued hypocrisy above honesty.
August 17, 2013
Wilde may be a decent biopic of literary genius and wit extraordinaire Oscar Wilde, but it leaves its viewer feeling little or learning anything more than a quick perusal of a Wilde Wikipedia page will teach one. The film has lavish costumes and sumptuous art direction/set design which splendidly recreates the late 1800's of London high society, and Stephen Fry (Gosford Park) does a nice job in a very rare leading role as Wilde. The movie tells the story of Oscar Wilde as a married man with two children (his loving wife is played by Jennifer Ehle - Sunshine) who loves his family and becomes morally perplexed and torn by the situation he finds himself in -- he gives into his homosexual urges and takes a string of younger lovers as he delighted in others giving into hedonism and living their lives freely without societal restrictions. Wilde was the toast of London high society when some of his stage plays hit it big; but he had a precipitous downfall when the father, the Marquess of Queensberry (Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton), of one of his young lovers, Lord Alfred Douglas (Jude Law - The Holiday) accused him of criminal immorality and Wilde's integrity didn't allow himself to fully deny his relationship with the younger man which he also saw as a form of artistic expression. Throughout it all Wilde had an array of supporters but they were not enough to allow Wilde to re-enter London society after the incidents that led to his arrest and sentencing for hard labor (for such heinous crimes!). A different time ... a different place. Wilde could have given us more of the man who is without doubt one of the cleverest to ever pick up a pen and write; but the story is kept rather simple and presents its audience with the basic set of facts. Wilde's lone novel -- The Picture of Dorian Gray -- is one of my three favorite pieces of fiction. The man was blessed with a way with words ... but he was also given some character flaws others couldn't tolerate or accept. I was awed by his work ... I wish I would have also been awed with this biopic instead of being merely satisfied with it.
October 7, 2012
I watched about half an hour of this and I just could not take it any more. Normally I don't mind biopics, but this one is just painfully dull and stuffy and... well, overly British. Usually I'll watch anything Jude Law is in, but I could not force myself to abide this.
½ October 28, 2011
A decent film about the scandals behind the wonderful writer Oscar Wilde. It didn't really incorporate (to its detriment) the humor and wit that is so familiar in Wilde's work.
October 6, 2006
Stephen Fry is perfectly cast as Oscar Wilde (there really is no one else I could imagine playing this role so well) but aside from that, this biopic falls a bit flat. It focuses almost entirely on the playwright's sexuality, without ever really exploring, for example, how he felt about his art. As such, the character is only drawn in reference to his relationships with others, and is never fleshed out as his own person. Acceptable, but disappointing.
June 16, 2010
Wilde (1998) - "In this life there are only two tragedies: One is not getting what one wants, the other is getting it. " - Oscar Wilde.

Probably the most bizarre movie I've ever seen; it's like Masterpiece Theatre Gone Wild. The story revolves around the beloved late 19th century writer Oscar Wilde, who (apparently) need only utter a few sentences of his writing to cause angelic young men to drop their drawers and through themselves into his arms. Worshipped and adored, Oscar led an idyllic life - married to the beautiful Constance (four years his junior) with two equally beautiful children, and a wild boyfriend, played by Jude Law who spends quite a bit of his time stark naked. Law's character eventually talks Oscar into doing enough crazy things (hint: watching) that Oscar is jailed for "gross indecency" (gay stuff).

Oh, this was Orlando Bloom's acting debut. He plays a rentboy and utters the immortal phrase: "Looking for someone?"
June 16, 2010
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[font=Book Antiqua][size=5][color=#000000][color=black][font='Book Antiqua']Hey All,[/font][/color][color=#aeeff9][font=Tahoma][/font][/color]

[color=black][font='Book Antiqua'] I know, I like to rent a lot of movies on the weekends. LOL! So, get over it. I would rather watch a movie at home than at a movie theater where it is over crowded, sometimes filled with screaming kids, and over priced. LOL! Any who! I rented this movie this past weekend called "Wilde". I really enjoyed the cast a lot as well as the story line. It's about Oscar Wilde's life and he went through during the Victorian age being a closet homosexual. I did read Portrait of Dorian Grey as well as saw the older version of the movie with Angela Landsberry. I really enjoyed the story but I didn't necessarily know about Oscar's life. Even though they supped it up for Hollywood?s standards, it got me interested more in to his writing. I would suggest this movie to any one especially if you interested in his stories. There is some extra stuff on the DVD. [/font][/color][color=#aeeff9][font=Tahoma][/font][/color]

[font=Book Antiqua][size=5][color=#000000]Fritz ;) [/color][/size][/font]
June 8, 2009
the acting in this film was terrific--Stephen Fry's Oscar Wilde is absolutely brilliant. the make-up and costumes (and the entire production design, for that matter) are also extremely well-done. the story, for the most part, was adequate, but I felt they skimmed over too many details. for instance, it's said that the discovery of his sexual identity coincided with the beginning of the best stages of his writing career. the sexual identity was more than covered, but I felt Wilde the Writer was a bit overlooked--the hows, whys, and wherefores of his work instead of just casual plot occurrences. overall, though, I thought this was a very impressive treatment of the life of one of my favorite writers.
October 24, 2008
this may not be the definitive film bio about oscar wilde but it is well designed and acted by its cast. its most arresting feature is the fact that its actors, particularly jude law and michael sheen, bravely go places that no american would have gone before a film like 'brokeback mountain' or 'milk'.
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