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Non-Review Review: The Happy Prince

“I am my own Judas,” explains Oscar Wilde around the midway point of The Happy Prince.

Just in case the audience doesn’t get the point, The Happy Prince is saturated with religious iconography and constant reminders of how Oscar Wilde was his own worst enemy. At one early point, Wilde confronts a group of homophobes in a church. At another, Wilde reflects on the local church that he visits for solace and how it reminds him what it is to suffer. Towards the end of the film, a priest is summoned to deliver the last rites, the splashing of holy water juxtaposed with the spit and venom of a mob in flashback.

Wilde at heart.

The Happy Prince is not an especially subtle or nuanced film, which is somewhat ironic for a biography about the life and times of one of the greatest witticists in history. Wilde was one of the most eloquent writers in the English language, as much in his personal correspondence as in any of the plays or stories that he wrote. As such, there is something strange in the bluntness of The Happy Prince, perhaps most transparently in the way that the film bends over backwards to construct a portrait of the writer’s final days that conforms to the eponymous story.

The Happy Prince is a story about a fascinating subject with a compelling central performance, but constructed in such a clumsy manner that the performance of Everett the actor cannot anchor the film of Everett the director.

It could use some fine tuning…

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The Judas Kiss at the Gaiety Theatre (Review)

Rupert Everett is amazing as Oscar Wilde in The Judas Kiss, with the veteran actor’s enthusiasm for all things Wildean seeping into the very fabric of David Hare’s examination of the Irish writer’s tragedy (or folly, depending on how sympathetic you are). Ably supported by fantastic ensemble, lavish set design and solid direction, The Judas Kiss is a rare theatrical pleasure. David Hare’s script manages to entertain and engage without ever seeming to pander, or without ever seeming too forced or obvious, and Everett provides a stunning portrait of a man struggling with his own ideas of fate and determinism.

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Non-Review Review: The Comfort of Strangers

Let me tell you something: My father was a very big man. And all his life he wore a black mustache. When it was no longer black, he used a small brush, such as ladies use for their eyes. Mascara.

– Robert

The Comfort of Strangers is… a strange film. I can appreciate what it’s doing (or rather what it is trying to do), but it never quite comes together. Perhaps it’s because the movie seems structured as too much of a thought exercise rather than a finished dramatic production. There’s food for thought here, but there’s really not too much else.

Never wander off with strangers... ESPECIALLY if they're Christopher Walken...

Note: I will be discussing the film’s ending, which is kinda important. But don’t worry, I’ll flag it beforehand. Plus, this film is nearly twenty years old, so I figure it’s fair game.

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