Wednesday, July 20, 2016


The biopic is a fickle genre for one to tackle. There's always the fear of embellishing details or leaving the more crucial ones out. What extent of one's life story can be told to the masses? And how much of it is actual fact?

And often times biopics fall into two categories: the personal lives and the achievements. The personal lives ones focus on the subject behind closed doors while the achievements ones focus on what made them famous (or infamous). Very seldom do the two merge into one, and sometimes that's a good thing.

In regards with Brian Gilbert's Wilde, there is some overlap in a few scenes but not enough to have it stand out from other titles of the genre. Chronicling the then-scandalous private life of writer Oscar Wilde (a well-cast Stephen Fry), it mostly focuses on his relationship with Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas (a boyish Jude Law). But there's more to the film than the forbidden romance.

Gilbert also depicts the society Wilde is set in as an unkind one to those who go against the grain. There's truth in this since it was a time when homosexuality was only recently deemed ineligible for capital punishment. The laws might have changed since then but some of the attitudes haven't faded into history.

Though flawed, Wilde chronicles the rise and fall of one of the great writers of the nineteenth century. Like Alan Turing decades later, Wilde was a victim of harsh prejudice and died a broken man. At least there's some solace in his work has been vindicated over time and the scandal that sent him to an early grave is treated as nothing more than a massive blight on part of Britain's legal system.

My Rating: ****

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