Rupert Everett has reached a new pinnacle in his career with the release of his new film “The Happy Prince.”
In a film in which he wrote and directed, Everett plays Oscar Wilde in the final years of his life. Everett, if you remember, played Wilde a few years back in London’s West End in the critically-acclaimed show ‘The Judas Kiss’ which won Everett awards. Now, and ten years in the making, sees Everett play the role he was practically born to play. It was ten years of struggling to get funding for this film, and once Colin Firth had signed on (he is an Executive Producer as well as playing Reggie Turner, one of Wilde’s best friends, in the film), ’The Happy Prince’ was finally made, and what an excellent film it is.
In the very late 1890’s, Wilde was a penniless man, living in France, with lots of stories to tell yet not a whole lot to his name. However, three years prior to his death (in 1900), Wilde had been released from prison where he served time for sodomy and gross indecency. Before his prison sentence, Wilde had enjoyed being a member of high society and was usually the centre of attention (we see as flashbacks in the film), and in ‘The Happy Prince,’ we see this side of his life portrayed. We also see the desperate side in the opening sequence in the film where he happily takes money from an old friend in a dark alley while he struggles to come to terms with the fact that his life will never be the same ever again. He does, however, have occasional contact with friends, and with his long-forgotten wife (yes he was married) Constance Lloyd (Emily Watson) – the mother of their twin sons – while he surrounds himself with young men, cocaine, and not much else.
It’s a bravura performance from Everett that makes ‘The Happy Prince’ both an ode and tribute to a man who has been the subject of many a book and show. By making ‘The Happy Prince’ his way, Everett will reap the respect, and the rewards and awards, that he truly deserves for making this magnificent film.
‘The Happy Prince’ is now in cinemas
Photo provided by Freuds
By Tim Baros