Anyway, another Oscar Wilde adaptation. This is my favourite Oscar Wilde play ever - while The Importance of Being Earnest is very funny, An Ideal Husband features Wilde's wit at its most biting and hilarious, his portrayal of society at its most satirical and sharp, and his characters - particularly Lord Goring, one of my favourite characters ever - at their most creative and complex. The film's screenplay has been brilliantly adapted to film, it retains the wit of the original, while adapting certain settings and incidents to make the whole thing more vibrant for the big screen, and wholly leaving out some of the more old fashioned sexist views - I quote:
"A man's life is of more value than a woman's. It has larger issues, wider scope, greater ambitions. A woman's life revolves in curves of emotion. It is upon lines of intellect that a man's life progresses."
I have to say, I would have expected Wilde, as a homosexual, to have a greater understanding of facing prejudices and being denied equal rights, and to therefore be more open minded. I greatly dislike being shoved in a corner like this. But I digress...
So yes, brilliant screenplay. But a screenplay is nothing without the right actors to say the lines, and it is here in my opinion that An Ideal Husband truly shines. Featuring Rupert Everett, Minnie Driver, Cate Blanchett and Jeremy Northam, the acting ability in this film is top notch. Cate Blanchett and Jeremy Northam play husband and wife Lord Robert and Lady Gertrude Chiltern, the former of which is hiding a terrible secret from his past, one that would shatter the relationship between himself and his wife, who idolises him beyond belief. These two play their roles perfectly, providing most of the drama and the moral and social undertones of the play. However, my two favourites have to be Minnie Driver as Mabel Chiltern, the younger sister of Robert, and Rupert Everett as Lord Goring, his best friend and Mabel's potential suitor. Everett is a natural born Wilde actor, he has charm of manner, an easy debonair air, brilliant comic timing and the ability to actually make these immortal words come to life. The odd moments where Lord Goring shows some of the true compassion, understanding and earnestness beneath his comedy are just beautiful, and Everett plays them true to character. Driver is also perfect in her role, she plays the young sweet English Rose charmingly, yet her witticisms - and there are many - can rival that of Rupert Everett's Lord Goring. Perhaps this is why they make such a great couple, with such fabulous chemistry. Julianne Moore also stars as the villain of the piece Mrs Chevely, and she pulls off elegant sultry bitch to perfection.
All in all, it's a beautifully acted, beautifully cast and beautifully adapted classic play, almost reminiscent of the sharp fast-talking comedies of the 40s, such as The Philadelphia Story, where a perfect script met a perfect cast and resulted in perfection. I can't stop using that word enough. This film cannot be faulted. The costumes are lavish, the set beautiful, the music pretty, acting superb and writing wonderful (N.B. stop overusing adjectives). It is perfect. Watch it. Watch it now.
Ahem. My over-abuse of commas is over.
ps. just watched lil' bits to get some screencaps and I really fancy Rupert Everett apparantly. *sigh* He just has such amazing chemistry with Minnie Driver that you fall in love with him. And conveniently forget that he's, you know, gay. Damn.