A Wilde Affair

Rupert Everett and Minnie Driver in An Ideal Husband (1999)

Ambitious politician and Government ministers, Sir Robert Chiltern (Jeremy Northam) is due to denounce British support for a proposed canal through Argentina when he is approached by Mrs Chevely (Julianne Moore) who wishes to purchase his backing of the canal. When Sir Robert won't be bought Mrs Chevely threatens to ruin his career and destroy his marriage to Lady Gertrude (Cate Blanchett) with what she knows about how he came to be wealthy. In need of help Sir Robert turns to his friend, Lord Goring (Rupert Everett), who is the idlest man in the country, but a man who has encountered Mrs Chevely once before.

As a movie reviewer who refuses to limit their viewing to only the things they know they will enjoy it is surprisingly frequent that I watch a movie from outside of my comfort zone holding out a hope that it will be one of those movies which surprises me by being engaging, entertaining and interesting. It is why I found myself watching "An Ideal Husband" a movie which I knew would have to perform miracles to entertain me for the simple reason I have never been wild about Oscar Wilde and to enjoy this I fear you must be wild about Wilde.

Julianne Moore in An Ideal Husband (1999)

I say that because for me Oscar Wilde was a very clever writer, his wit and dialogue was sharp but he wrote lines not as if people were speaking too each other but at each other. And that is what you get in "An Ideal Husband" a collection of talented thespians who know exactly how to deliver Wilde's dialogue to get the sharpness of the wit whilst also delivering the duplicity of the dialogue. Trust me if you enjoy Wilde I am convinced you would enjoy this as well but if you don't what you get are actors with a look of smarmy satisfaction spread thick on their face throwing lines at each other.

Oh there is also this storyline, this duplicitous delight of twists and turns. Except for me "An Ideal Husband" is not a movie you sit and follow as it is contrived, some might say enjoyably so although I don't. Nope "An Ideal Husband" is all about the delivery of the lines and the performances which for some will be more than enough.

What this all boils down to is that "An Ideal Husband" is a movie for those who cherish the writing and wit of Oscar Wilde and so much focus of the movie is on the dialogue and the delivery of it. But for those who are less than enamoured with Wilde will find this a star studded, nice looking movie but one which unsurprisingly drones on due to its dialogue heavy nature.

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