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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked but excellent
I will admit from the start that I am an admirer of both Stephen Fry and Oscar Wilde, so this film is a dream come true for me. However, if you're not a fan of either, this could just be the thing to convert you.
Fry gives a simply amazing performance as Wilde, at times heartbreakingly touching; he almost makes you go through the emotions with him. Jude Law as the...
Published on 18 July 2004 by Sometimes Things Get Whatever

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars An incomplete and misleading account of this criminal
Whatever the quality of the acting, the score, the cinematography, I do not care, this film being politically motivated `LGBT' propaganda.

Firstly, Bosie Douglas was very much a lover of boys, having infamously described his most cherished incarnation of Eros as "the love that dare not speak its name", and yet there are scenes of him in bed with men alone so...
Published 1 month ago by Andre Gide


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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked but excellent, 18 July 2004
This review is from: Wilde [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
I will admit from the start that I am an admirer of both Stephen Fry and Oscar Wilde, so this film is a dream come true for me. However, if you're not a fan of either, this could just be the thing to convert you.
Fry gives a simply amazing performance as Wilde, at times heartbreakingly touching; he almost makes you go through the emotions with him. Jude Law as the arrogant Bosie is quite perfect, both physically and performance-wise. Jennifer Ehle and Michael Sheen are both equally excellent, as are the rest of this great cast. In fact, I can find no fault with this film whatever, and it's one of my favourites of all time. The courtroom scene always moves me to tears without fail, and there are very few films that can do that, if any! You needn't think that it's a depressing film though, as there are always the injections of Oscar's razor sharp wit to balance the mood.
The documentary on the DVD is great too; a nice addition. But just one question: Where did the Best Actor Oscar go?
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilde, 6 Oct 2003
This review is from: Wilde [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
Having an enormous amount of respect for Stephen Fry, I watched Wilde with high expectations and I wasn't disappointed. 'Wilde' was moving and Fry played the part with a huge amount of depth; which allowed the audience to become more subjective and emotionally involved during the film. I found some of the underlying themes of family and social acceptance a little washed over. However, the film has a grown up and sombre feel, juxtaposed with humour and wit. Highly recommended.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wild!, 10 Jan 2005
This review is from: Wilde [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
This is a bipoic of the great Oscar Wilde starring the wonderful Stephen Fry as the man himself amongst a star studded cast including Vanessa Redgrave and Jude Law. A thoroughly moving film about a truly inspirational man, Stephen Fry is perfect as Oscar but I would have liked even more of Wilde's gems of wisdom to have been included. Not for anyone who is easily offended by same sex love scenes!
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1.0 out of 5 stars An incomplete and misleading account of this criminal, 6 Nov 2014
This review is from: Wilde [1997] [DVD] (DVD)
Whatever the quality of the acting, the score, the cinematography, I do not care, this film being politically motivated `LGBT' propaganda.

Firstly, Bosie Douglas was very much a lover of boys, having infamously described his most cherished incarnation of Eros as "the love that dare not speak its name", and yet there are scenes of him in bed with men alone so that this crucial and overwhelming component of his sexuality is ignored. Indeed, Wilde's group comprised of mostly pederasts: Ross was firmly a lover of boys, as was Gide, the latter having lost his virginity in his 23rd year to a beautiful twelve year old Arab boy, with whom he fell in love, and all at the initiation of a beaming, satisfied Oscar Wilde. True, Wilde himself, by this time in his middle-age, was drawn mostly to males around nineteen years old; working class, hard-up lads who he paid to have sex with, whilst his trophy wife, Constance, looked after the children at home. As is well known, Wilde had already enjoyed homoromantic and homosexual experiences prior to his seduction by the sixteen year old Ross, who merely rekindled his appetite into an all-consuming furnace for rough trade, and had written poems to boy tenors, all of which make his protestation to her in this film of "I didn't know" to be pious nonsense. Nevertheless, he was capable of tenderness and had a loving relationship with the fifteen year old Alphonse Conway, and possibly his younger brother. Wilde and Bosie spent the summer in Worthing with the two boys and some of their friends. He helped Conway with his poetry, and he bought him a straw hat to wear and some suitable clothes for when they dined together in the hotel: it was one of those old-fashioned relationships between a man and an adolescent boy, powerfully formative by the very force of its disparate nature, and now entirely impossible in England, whether chaste or unchaste. This mostly because of the taking on of American paedo-hysteria, as well as many other aspects pertaining to that demeaned culture of the past thirty years. I think Wilde must have been about his happiest around this time, but of course we get much of it through skewed reports: the poor boy was later intimidated by the police into testifying against his lover. Modern hagiographers for Wilde ignore these facts, or else conveniently raise Alphonse's age at a stretch to sixteen, in line with today's procrustean fixation on an often inconsiderate Age of Consent. Still, it is difficult to emend a writer's own words when they are so clearly expressed, so that when it comes to his own recount of his love and kisses for a "most sweet" boy of fifteen in Naples named Giuseppe Loverde, it is conveniently ignored.

Lord Alfred Douglas is sat across from a slumped and defeated Oscar Wilde in a prison visitation room, when the warden urges him to hasten their farewell. Desperately the two lovers reach out to touch hands through the thick wire mesh that divides them, while an orchestral surge of a Brahmsian motif infuses the scene with a fin de siècle feel for lost time.

Such pathos then is to be savoured with an awareness of better times that await for those who identify as "Gay".

And yet it is a more forbidding irony when we consider it is not for his sordid custom to male prostitutes (the man suffered an unhealthy and consumptive addiction to sex!) but for his most loving and mutually beneficial bonds with boys, that he would today find himself execrated by the British public; while the Gay Movement, who hypocritically make a prophet and saint out of Wilde today, would not lift a finger to defend this great and greatly flawed man.

Played here by Mr Stephen Fry, that unctuous entertainer of the English middle classes, whosoever had written the script seemed to have mistaken Oscar Wilde for Noel Coward. Even the clothes are wrong. He seems too... conventional. Where is the drunken bohemian? Or the Irish radical? The famous tour throughout the States, which was sponsored by Richard D'Oyly Carte, is treated as a roaring success, when in fact it got off to a shaky start owing to poor performances, and once it had become a hit then interest in it died off pretty quickly. Wilde's quite bitter disparaging comments concerning the close-mindedness of Americans are carefully omitted.

More importantly, no hint is given by this biopic to the forces that conspired to convict and disgrace Oscar Wilde. These were crucial shifts that would alter British society forever. By the late nineteenth century, an increase in the prestige of occupations like those of butchers, skilled tradesmen and grocers and other small businessmen, had swelled a growing lower-middle class that would soon develop its own set of tastes, habits and prejudices. They were fearfully hostile toward a working class culture of organised labour (to which Wilde at least paid lip-service with his endorsement of Anarchism) and whilst they were keen for themselves and especially their children to heighten their own social standing, were indignant at the aesthetic pursuits of a certain strata of mostly Public School educated writers, artists and other 'personalities', of whom Wilde, with his pretensions toward the Decadent Movement, was surely the epitome. Too, a tabloid press had emerged to cater for these sentiments, sensationalising reports of a probably non-existent serial killer they called Jack The Ripper, child prostitution and the crimes of Wilde himself. The Social Purity Movement encouraged homophobic laws to counter the recently cemented proto-gay identity, whilst the increasing medicalization of sexuality would provide lucrative opportunities for the pseudo-science of psychology to increase its prestige, and certain quack psychiatrists to offer treatment for undesirable predilections, chief among them being any form of homosexual desire. This was the invention of modern homophobia and would peak in the Anglophone world during the middle of the last century. Despite their claims to the contrary, the American Psychiatric Association dropped homosexuality from their nasty little book of illnesses following activism from Gay Rights groups. And yet it is the church that the modern gays most despise, even though for most of its history, Christianity was mostly tolerant enough of homosexual expression, so long as it was discreet. Which is neither to forgive its souring of the original splendour of Greek Love, something the LGBT-ers anyway disdain, nor endorse the hypocrisy of the pathetic and unscrupulous, catch-all liberalism of certain `gay-friendly' churches.

But I very much doubt that the author of the Soul of Man Under Socialism, one of the greatest essays on society ever written, would frankly care much for Gaydom in its contemporary manifestation. He would be utterly appalled both at their execration of the "nameless love" that he publicly defended, even as they claim the precedent of paederastic eros for themselves when it suits them, and at the general succumbing of the Aids-disquieted Gay Rights movement to a push for respectability over genuine sexual liberation. Not some coward who is wont to bite his tongue, it is my belief that he would be wary of any association. As someone who rooted the best of his homo-romantic etiquette within the paederastic ethos, his worst was a consequence of his at times disgusting hedonism, although it must be remembered that our knowledge concerning much of this behaviour derives from the statements given in court by the witnesses who were under conditions of intimidation, just as occurs today in `statutory rape' cases, now too infected by a fraudulent, career-upholding and politically-abused Child Sex Abuse industry. Indeed, in a letter to Robbie Ross he specifically refers to himself as an Uranian, the group of boy love poets in England:

"A patriot in prison for loving his country loves his country, and a poet in prison for loving boys loves boys. To have altered my life would have been to have admitted that Uranian love is ignoble. I hold it to be noble more noble than the other forms."

To be fair though, neither Edward Carpenter nor John Addington Symonds could have predicted how their movement would degrade from a shield of protection for all forms of male love into a shady compromise under a thread-bare banner proclaiming victory for `same-sex equality'. After all, wasn't it Harry Hay himself, that fervent critic of the demonisation of paederasts and to whom the sell-out LGBT-ers pay lip service in their admiration of him (though this defence was either omitted in his obituaries or dismissed as an eccentric exhibit pertaining to his radicalism), who taking issue with the (L)GBT acronym, said that Lesbians should be separate from Gays, even if cooperating on certain issues. This, along with the intense homophobia of the first half of the twentieth century, may well have demanded certain compromises, yet still the Gay Movement should have defended all male love, as it was strong enough a minority to have done so. In selling out, the LGBT-ers have receipt of their twenty pieces, but have forfeited the respect of all those who love liberty. Back to Wilde, in the end it was his Classicism that convicted him; all that talk concerning the love of an "elder man for a younger man" indicated too strongly of corruption. There was already a sense that the unmolested sway of the Imperial Century was reaching its close, and as Lady Mount Temple put it here, "the empire was not built by men like Bosie Douglas". From now on, patrols would take place in many boarding schools to root out the "unspeakable" whilst vile new laws enabled a tighter crackdown on sodomitical and quasi-sodomitical activities.

Much of the enduring popularity of this film is accorded by the presence in the lead role of Mr Stephen Fry, who has an enormous following in England and around the world comprising semi-educates who consider him, incongruously, to be something of a modern-day Wilde. I notice that Mr Fry had demanded that the team representing Britain in the Winter Olympics should gesture their solidarity with the validated victims of Russian homophobia, and yet he can neither bring himself to criticise the innocent, mostly young, men, much younger than Wilde, who are languishing in horrendous prisons inside his beloved America (a vast gulag denounced even by Amnesty International as a disgrace by First World standards), nor shed a tear for their younger lovers who were manipulated into testifying against them. Or even point to the hysterical, cruel, and thuggish response by the authorities in that country to adolescent on adolescent 'abuse', something even the disgusting victimology profiteers in this country would wince at. Such cowardice is understandable from a position of self-preservation, as it wouldn't go down well with his publishers in that country, or please his Hollywood friends. Today, an American-led respectability movement languishes in solemn pity over the "martyrdom of Oscar Wilde". Although I am not actually familiar with the details of the savagery dealt out by the freedom-loving country to those men who enjoy loving, consensual relationships with boys of fifteen (`underage' in that country; the age of consent being fourteen in Germany, and fifteen in France), I think it does include them not being able to see their children ever again. Such martyrdom is to pass into the ranks of the Pink Triangles, in remembrance of whom LGBT-ers of the sell-out variety solemnly, so solemnly, adopt their symbol. And yet research has shown that following his destruction of the homosexuality-infested SA, in order to preserve his beloved German Youth from contamination, Hitler targeted two groups of homosexuals: working class men engaged in public sex, and paederasts. And yet it is the paederasts and their loved boys who the LGBT-ers, in their squalid bargain with authority, threw to the clenched jaws of the fraudulent CSA industry. Sounds like a film! Mr Spielberg should contract me to write the script. But of course, that is the true message of the Holocaust: no redemption.

Wilde is an image for Gay Liberation now, which means that in order to obtain the financing required, any cinematic depiction will have to mimic the prevailing attitudes of the era in which it is produced. I have only watched scenes from the Peter Finch portrayal, but it seems in keeping with the thawing of homophobia that had been gathering in intensity since its crystallisation in the late nineteenth century, having peaked a decade before that film was shot. Thus, the timbre of homosexuality can be summarised by the tenor of the Wolfenden Report that led to the legalisation of homosexual sex in 1967 between "consenting adults" with the specification of being "in private" and with "adult" being set at a firm 21 years of age. This depiction from the nineteen-nineties fulfils a racier need for a bit of Gay sex thrown in, though still firmly androphile, to titillate the homosexually proclived or sexually curious while mostly flattering the open-mindedness of the either way unaroused, like myself.

Given that most people haven't the time to read through all of Wilde's letters and other sources that offer a true account of his views and ethic, I can only recommend this film if the reader then take a careful look at Neil McKenna's revelatory biography on him, partly readable on Google Books. Despite being a respected LGBT commentator himself, he pulls no punches by refusing to contribute to the carefully whitewashed image of his hero. Although he too misinterprets Oscar Wilde as a prophet of the demeaned situation of Gay Rights, he inadvertently reveals a figure for whom the paederastic ethos infused all his most loving relationships.

The criminal Wilde cannot speak for himself on account of his place now among the stars, but he vomits down into the gutter below him where this film belongs.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love that dare not speak its name, 10 Jan 2010
This review is from: Wilde [1997] [DVD] (DVD)
I have been a fan of Oscar Wilde for some time, and this film gave amazingly accurate insight into the life of a great Irish literary. Indeed, many a speech by Stephen Fry has been quoted word for word from the actual trial monologues, and the uncanny resemblance of Fry to Wilde himself is astounding.

This Wilde is torn between what is accepted love (his wife, and children), and the 'love that dare not speak its name' (primarily his destructive relationship with the needy, selfish and petulant Lord Alfred Douglas, played here by Jude Law in the role which brought him to world attention). We see his charm and conviction when creating his plays or amusing friends, we also see his weaker side and why he was the cause of his own eventual arrest and imprisonment, we see how prison changed him and - as he wrote himself in De Profundis - broke his spirit and his health.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ripe for a special edition, 16 Mar 2010
By 
Mr. S. P. R. Knowles (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wilde [1997] [DVD] (DVD)
Not much more can be said on the content and performances of the film, but I might add a note that the currently available edition claims to have a 5.1 surround soundtrack which is incorrect. It's just 2.0. rather disappointingly.

I look forward to a good Blu-ray edition with a 5.1 remastered soundtrack, commentary and more extras.
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a wild Wilde life -- and a fascinating film, 27 May 2007
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wilde [1997] [DVD] (DVD)
I have somewhat conflicting opinions about this film, just as I have conflicting opinions about Oscar Wilde himself. No one can dispute the fact that Wilde was a literary genius; ample proof of this is found in the successful rehabilitation of his work in reputation long before the aspects of his infamous lifestyle became acceptable to even a minor fraction of society. If, as hardly seems possible, you aren't aware of the scandal associated with Wilde's downfall, this film spares the viewer few of the most intimate of details (in other words, there is male nudity - and plenty of it). It's a brave film, featuring a most accomplished class of actors and actresses turning in terrific performances, but it doesn't feel perfectly complete to me. Rather than delivering a flamboyant Oscar Wilde who truly reveled in his own audacity, this Oscar Wilde seemed subdued and sometimes even haunted by the lifestyle he led. While his wit is demonstrated quite often, this didn't quite seem like the young man who became the toast of London before he met with his first literary success and reveled in the danger inherent in his forays into the London underworld of homosexuality. Maybe it's just impossible to capture the true spirit of this most singular of men, but I just felt as if this film tried to cast Wilde as something of a victim led astray by all these pretty young boys and a man doomed by his own nature, and I don't completely buy into that.

I was also somewhat disappointed by the fact that Wilde's writing played only an incidental role in this story. We don't get a very good sense of the shocking nature of The Picture of Dorian Gray to Victorian society, apart from the comments of young Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas (Jude Law) upon his introduction to the author, and Wilde's successful plays provide little more than short moments in the sun for Wilde to receive the cheers of appreciative audiences on opening nights. There's basically no commentary on the relationship between Wilde's writing and his life.

I don't want to sound too negative, however, as I think this is a wonderful film. Stephen Fry makes for a wonderful, albeit subdued, Oscar Wilde, but Jude Law turns in a much more memorable performance as Bosie. With his flamboyant nature, sudden mood swings between devil-may-care flamboyance and taciturn childishness, and natural coquettishness, he dominates one scene after another. Wilde, in fact, becomes something of a pathetic creature at times, a helpless instrument in the hands of a young seducer whom he must suspect will ultimately lead to his downfall and disgrace. Certainly, there was little chance of keeping this extended dalliance a protected secret, but one cannot blame Bosie's father - evil brute that he was - from seeking Wilde's destruction. The irony, of course, is that Wilde engineered his own downfall, as it was his decision to sue the Marquess of Queensberry for libel (and to thereby perjure himself in court) that led to his arrest for gross indecency.

I certainly can't admire anything about Oscar Wilde's personal life beyond his brave determination to be nothing less than who he truly was, even when that meant facing two back-breaking years of manual labor in prison. I do admire his genius, however, and I don't think there's any doubt that his exploits influenced the society of his day and age.

He helped define one era and ushered in the dawn of a new one. Most of all, he was just bloody fascinating. Any movie about his life would be noteworthy, and this one is certainly that.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good film but poor DVD, 26 Jan 2011
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This review is from: Wilde [1997] [DVD] (DVD)
Stephen Fry gives a marvellous performance as intelligent and witty Wilde. Watching him on screen, you couldn't imagine the part being played by any other actor. An engaging and well-made historical drama.

Bear in mind that in common with many first-generation DVD releases, this is non-anamorphic and won't look good on a widescreen TV. Until a blu-ray version is released, consider the R1 release which has an anamorphic transfer, and a commentary too.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fry is Wilde, 8 April 2009
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This review is from: Wilde [1997] [DVD] (DVD)
The best representation of Oscar Wilde on screen is delivered by a genious of a man, Stephen Fry. Very good film, and excellent performances.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!, 12 Oct 2002
This review is from: Wilde [VHS] [1997] (VHS Tape)
I am a huge fan of Oscar Wilde, and I believe that this production portrayed him perfectly. Stephen Fry is very talented, and the two are stuningly alike. Jude Law as Bosie was also very well acted out, and I found myself immersed in tears and laughter, simultaneously.
This is a must buy for anyone who loves literature, who's been inlove and hated for it, and anyone who's basically human.
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