A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Courage and integrity are both on display, often in the face of persecution. Compassion is shown, even toward those who intend to do harm.
Positive Role Models
Oscar Wilde is intelligent, treats others fairly, and is principled. He stays true to himself even when faced with prosecution for being gay in Victorian London. He is warm and affectionate toward his sons but spends a lot of time away from them and his wife. He feels like he can't be his true self in public but is stoic, sensible, and insightful. He is also understanding of a lover who is mean to him. The upper-class Bosie is a snob who holds prejudices against those lower than him. He is in a relationship with Wilde but is conflicted, resulting in occasional spite and rage at Wilde. Bosie's parents threaten their son because of the relationship and his bigoted father leads the campaign to get Wilde convicted and jailed.
Gay men in upper-class Victorian London are portrayed as persecuted, forced into hiding, and meeting in secret. The characters don't fall into cliche or caricature and are all sympathetically portrayed, even those with negative character traits. Little diversity in terms of ethnicity.
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Violence & Scariness
Discussion of a parent's domestic abuse against their family. References to suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Character passionately kisses a variety of partners and there are a number of sex scenes. Male genitals are shown twice as well as buttocks. References to "renters" (men who sell sex) and a character says they "don't need to be shown respect." Characters fondle each other's genitals at a "vice den."
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Infrequent language includes "f--k," "f---ing," "buggering," and "bloody," as well as prejudice language such as "Jew queer," "sissy," "bum boy," and "wop."
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Products & Purchases
The movie focuses almost entirely on wealthy people and the aristocracy.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters frequently smoke cigarettes. Some alcohol consumption.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wilde is a British biopic about Victorian poet and playwright Oscar Wilde (Stephen Fry) as he explores his sexuality, and features sex scenes and full-frontal male nudity. There is also infrequent strong language including variants of "f--k," and discriminatory slang such as "Jew queer," "wop," and "bum boy." Wilde is a positive role model, stoic, witty, and poetic in the face of persecution -- he is eventually tried and jailed for being gay, convicted of "indecent acts" (homosexuality was decriminalized in the U.K. in 1967) -- with the movie impressing that people should follow "their nature." Wilde's relationship with his lover, Bosie (Jude Law), is difficult but Wilde remains understanding toward him. Boise's bigoted father, John Douglas (Tom Wilkinson), leads the charge to have Wilde jailed. Wilde and many other characters smoke cigarettes frequently and consume alcohol. There is also mention of suicide. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
British actor Fry is such a natural fit as the intelligent, witty dandy, Wilde, that when his casting was secured, the makers of this biopic must have known their work was pretty much done. Fry, a gay man who himself struggled to keep his homosexuality secret, brings a depth and an honesty to Wilde that breathes life into his character. His wit soars, of course, but there is beneath it a complex sadness that in being himself, he is also condemning himself, leading to a period in prison.
Supporting Fry is Jude Law as the handsome and sometimes vicious Bosie. Law's depiction of the character carries around with him Bosie's father's prejudice and the conflict that causes. In addition, Jennifer Ehle's quiet sadness is pitch-perfect as Wilde's neglected wife. Wilde died aged 46, not long after leaving jail -- a place which broke him physically. His work still stands as insightful and witty, and this movie gives a potted history of what he, and many other men, endured at the hands of the British legal system when being gay was still illegal.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.