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Shown at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and the 2018 BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival, The Happy Prince has been taking critics and audiences by storm, receiving rave reviews from a large number of critics across the country. Written and directed by Rupert Everett, who also gives an extremely convincing performance as Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince depicts the final days of the famous writer, who was imprisoned because of his sexuality.
Through this film we are presented with a heartbreaking tale of one of histories most influential writers, through an emotional writing style, well performed characters and inspirational cinematography, we are shown a passionate, broken man. Broken by the conservative ideals and viewpoints of the people and society of the time period. Ideals that in some cases, unfortunately still exist, amongst people who for some reason wish to take us back to the ideals of Victorian era and disrupt the journey our society has taken to get to this point.
The story primarily deals with Wilde's release from prison, his time in Naples with the lover that brought him controversy, and the days before his death in Paris, an era of his life that is not often shown when it comes to adaptations in the film industry. While Oscar lies upon his death bed, the film is told to us in a non-linear story in the form of flashbacks, that is set out in a way that can be easily followed and is all brought back to a full circle perfectly.
It gradually and patiently reveals the tragedy that unfolded for the great author, contributing to the films immensely worthwhile journey, a journey that is in fact quite emotional. At a number of parts I actually found I had genuine tears in my eyes, just further emphasising the competence of the emotional conflict that the script creates for both its characters and viewers.
The film's atmosphere can often times be bleak but at times we do get a warmful asthetic, like when we see glimpses of Oscar's true self and the special moments when he was happy. Despite these two different atmospheres, they are not done poorly. They are in fact structured extremely well and equally compliment each over, providing a balance that allows the flow of the film to go on undisturbed.
Alongside Rubert Everett, the film hosts an extremely well selected cast, including Colin Morgan, Colin Firth, and Emily Watson, who put in a number of immensely realistic performances that truly reinforce the emotional situation that the character finds himself in, making the inevitable end of the story all the more heartbreaking.
It is clear that director holds a massive passion for Oscar Wilde and it comes through in this film. Whether this film does truly accurately depict Wilde's final days remains to be seen, but there is so much passion put into this project that I feel the film makers have definitely come extremely close to the true events that took place.
To conclude, The Happy Prince is a creative and well-written, emotional film, equal to the immense competence of its filmmakers. Especially from Rupert Everett, who through his first directoral debut, has presented us with a great film, that I truly hope will be remembered and seen for years to come. I immensely recommend you see this film, for me personally it is one of the best films I have seen all year. It is important for any passionate film fan, it is important for any member of the LGBTQ community, and it is essential for any fan of Oscar Wilde and his work.
This is a film that can only be described as a masterpiece.