The Happy Prince
Writer-director Rupert Everett chronicles the last years of Oscar Wilde, after his prison term for “gross indecency” (i.e., being homosexual) made him a social pariah, living in Parisian squalor a world away from his days as the darling of London’s artsy set. Just to round things out, Everett also plays Wilde himself. The movie is impeccably mounted, and yet it still seems to be missing something. Everett the writer sometimes overplays things, while Everett the director lurches from one martyrdom to the next in a sort of pity-party promenade. But Everett the actor, in a role he was born to play (and has, on stage), never makes a false move. His disgraced and dying Wilde is like a great bear, weakened by dissipation and wounded by cruel abuse, yet somehow summoning a ruined dignity almost to the very end. J.L.