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critics consensus

Despite a lavish and polished production, Dorian Gray is tame and uninspired with a lifeless performance by Ben Barnes in the title role. Read critic reviews

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Dorian Gray Photos

Movie Info

A hedonistic aristocrat (Ben Barnes) remains young and handsome while a hidden portrait reflects his ugly soul.

Cast & Crew

Ben Barnes
Dorian Gray
Colin Firth
Lord Henry Wotton
Ben Chaplin
Basil Hallward
Rebecca Hall
Emily Wooton
Douglas Henshall
Alan Campbell
Emilia Fox
Lady Victoria Wooton
Toby Finlay
Screenwriter
James Spring
Executive Producer
Tim Smith
Executive Producer
Paul Brett
Executive Producer
Charles Miller Smith
Executive Producer
Simon Fawcett
Executive Producer
James Holland
Executive Producer
Xavier Marchand
Executive Producer
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Critic Reviews for Dorian Gray

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (22)

  • While Wilde's wit remains firmly entrenched, there's also a gruesome vein of gothic horror, and elements of the original which existed in the subtext or were merely hinted at are brought graphically into the open.

    August 24, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • This uneasy mixture of horror and elegant wit, which worked so well originally, never really catches fire thanks to Parker's undistinguished handling.

    November 11, 2009 | Rating: 2/5
  • Teenagers will love this film. They will love it because there are lots of close-ups of Barnes being done unto or doing unto others. As a vehicle for a rising and undeniably talented star, it hits the spot.

    September 11, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • An ambitious if decidedly uneven interpretation of the last great Gothic horror novel.

    September 11, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • These are interesting ideas, but they would work better if there was more decadence on show earlier on to nail Gray's corruption.

    September 11, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Some neat formal flourishes from its director Oliver Parker and a truly handsome supporting turn from Colin Firth, this story demands a more versatile and charismatic central player than the powerfully blank Ben Barnes.

    September 11, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Dorian Gray

  • Dec 28, 2019
    Handballs it in on just about every important (and engaging) aspect of the actual Portrait of Dorian Gray story.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 09, 2013
    Stylish and extremely artistic, but Barnes destroyed the titular character, I don't know why he was chosen, he really is not "Magnificent" It's bloody but messy at the same time. Disappointed.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jan 07, 2012
    A British aesthete realizes that a painting of him manifests all the physical evidence of anything he does. I'm trying not to be the snobby literature teacher whom everybody hated in high school or that literature survey class you were forced to take Freshman year, but the distortions that Oscar Wilde's masterpiece was subjected to in this film are almost too much to bear. Avoiding that persona, I'm forced to say that Lord Henry doesn't work as a character if he is bland and evil the way Colin Firth plays him here. The timeline of the film is vastly extended compared to the book, and Sybil's influence is reduced. These latter changes aren't particularly damning, but turning Henry into a leering villain is. Rather than Wilde's tale being about an extreme expression of the aesthete, <i>Dorian Gray</i> suggests that murder and illicit sex are logical extensions of the aesthete's philosophy. Because Wilde considered himself an aesthete, I doubt that he would approve. So it's clear that the film differs from the book, but these differences don't necessarily mean it's a bad film. No, the stolid performances and unevenness of the story make it a bad film. Overall, read the book or -- though I haven't seen it -- the older version, <i>The Picture of Dorian Gray</i>, can't be worse.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Nov 16, 2011
    With music a bit tedious, confusing story, nothing outstanding performances and poor adaptation of the book, this film is worthy of oblivion.
    Rodrigo R Super Reviewer

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