Parents' Guide to

Wilde

By Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Biopic of Irish poet has persecution, sex, nudity, language.

Movie R 1998 118 minutes
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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.

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