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A passion project for writer, director, and star Rupert Everett, The Happy Prince pays effective tribute to Oscar Wilde with a poignant look at his tragic final days.
All Critics (121)
| Top Critics (21)
| Fresh (85)
| Rotten (36)
An honest-but-shapeless portrait that is more than warts-and-all. It's all warts.
The title of Oscar Wilde's fairy tale "The Happy Prince" was not his subtlest use of irony, but as seen in Rupert Everett's film that bears the same name, it was tragically apt.
Florid but warmhearted - much like the man at its center - "The Happy Prince" is a haunting portrait of the aftermath of betrayal; of how the master of comedy became a tragedy.
It's a passion project that never devolves into mere passion; a sober (if loving) look at an inebriated soul.
[Everett] delivers a towering and persuasive performance in a mostly sombre and sorrowful film and, as director, does a fine job of capturing the period detail.
"The Happy Prince" conveys the declining Wilde's pain, despair and self-pity, but also the writer's defiant banter.
In the role of his career and his directing debut, Rupert Everett shines brightly as the troubled literary genius, Oscar Wilde during his final years.
Actor Rupert Everett's mistitled The Happy Prince marks his debut as a film director, and the subject matter is clearly close to his heart.
This respectful ode may feel more like a lurid slog, but one that will stay with you long after the vivacious rogue draws his final breath.
Everett captures much of this, if necessarily in cinematic shorthand... Yet it's exactly Wilde's penchant for self-destruction that Everett doesn't pursue enough.
A bleak film that nevertheless brims with the spirit and cheek of Wilde himself, Everett is here revealed as the man best suited to telling this particular tale.
It's an interesting, more sober counterpoint to 1997's Stephen Fry starring Wilde, but Happy Prince feels like more of a slog than it should be.
Everett directs his debut feature with such a heavy hand, using a lot of expository dialogue and coming up with artificial scenes that make it seem like a lame soap opera. Besides, his Oscar Wilde is almost a caricature, and his intentions get completely lost in their transition to the screen.
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