The Happy Prince Reviews
I thought this was the most believable representation of Wilde, Douglas and the other players in this great and terrible tragedy. Characters who are for all their literary power very difficult to make real however committed the performers.
I suspect history will look much more kindly on this film which is very old fashioned, romantic, unpretentious and loveable.
Beautifully shot but sadly lacking in heart.
I read that Everett has been trying to get this film made for 10 years and even did it on stage for 2 years. He got Colin Firth, Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson to star along with him plus gave Colin Morgan and Edwin Thomas major roles and all deal well with the material given them.
The major problem with "The Happy Prince" is the material, the screenplay written by Everett. He, also, directed and stars in the film which seems too much of a burden that he should have shared by either giving the directing or the screenplay to someone else to do.
Instead of concentrating on Wilde's life after his imprisonment Everett brings in too much of his life before and in turn going back and forth in decades to the point of confusion from Wilde's telling his story of "The Happy Prince" to his own two sons to a street boy and his brother and completely making a puzzle of Lord Alfred Douglas also known as Bosie who was responsible for Wilde's being sentenced to hard labor as a sodomite and his downfall. Bosie also causes Wilde the loss of his income and sons. How Robbie Ross became so important to his life and the role he played has to be just accepted by the audience just as Reggie Turner is without explanation.
With make-up, prosthetics and padding plus acting Rupert Everett gives us a well rounded Oscar Wilde in despair, a failure, a man unable to cope with who he was and who he is after being shunned by all who praised him before. With the destruction of a man who was considered a great playwright the screenwriter/director fails to make the audience feel the despair this man went through after being found guilty on charges of gross decency or of being one of many who did not talk about "the love that dare not speaks its name" and were persecuted for it.
Aside from going back and forth in time and countries not to mention debauchery "The Happy Prince" is pretty dark in the filming and photography while understandable with many places lit just by candlelight gets no relief when outdoors.
Possibly my expectations were too high or I was looking for something that wasn't there. I thought I knew a lot about Wilde's life but people such as Robbie Ross and Reggie Turner were strange names to me and I was hoping to learn more about these two men who were so important to Wilde in his downfall.
I found "The Happy Prince" to be a boring film about an incredible man.
I hope Rupert Everett will get all possible awards (Like I hoped for 3 Billboards last year :)
He played, directed and wrote the skript. Took 10 years. But the way its all done! I am in love. His first movie - like first love - raw and real and true and deeply personal. And no fashionable, self-loving "make up" "adv commercial" reality.
Watch on big screen. And last words on black screen will put everything in even bigger prospective.
P.S. You will not recognize him, though he is playing with no prosthetics.