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NewCityNet Film Tip of the Week

Go see "Wilde."

By Ray Pride

JUNE 15, 1998: 

The effervescent Stephen Fry is the incarnation of Oscar Wilde in Brian Gilbert's film of the notorious playwright and epigrammatist's life (from a screenplay by playwright Julian Mitchell). The tender "Wilde" tries to pack a lifetime into its two hours, and does a good job of combining his love of family, his children and young men, as well as remaining endlessly suggestive about the swift turnings of a mind that was incessantly, cleverly, surefootedly critical, yet seldom, if ever, cruel or angry. (In bold contrast to the treatment Wilde received from English society of his time.) Gilbert's direction is fleet and filled with grace notes, beginning with its unlikely (yet based on fact) Wild West opening. Film biographies are inescapably compressed versions of the complexity of their protagonists' lives, yet "Wilde" manages to say much between the lines that elevates it beyond those of a more declamatory style.

(Ray Pride)

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