In a cheap Parisian hotel room Oscar Wilde (Rupert Everett, who also directed) lies on his death bed and the past floods back, transporting him to other times and places. Was he once the most famous man in London? The artist crucified by a society that once worshiped him? The lover imprisoned and freed, yet still running towards ruin in the final chapter of his life?
Under the microscope of death, he reviews the failed attempt to reconcile with his long-suffering wife Constance (Emily Watson), the ensuing reprisal of his fatal love affair with Lord Alfred Douglas (Colin Morgan) and the warmth and devotion of Robbie Ross (Edwin Thomas) who tried and failed to save him from himself.
From Dieppe to Naples to Paris, freedom is elusive, and Oscar is a penniless vagabond, always moving on, shunned by his old acquaintances, but revered by a strange group of outlaws and urchins to whom he tells the old stories – his incomparable wit still sharp.
Also starring Colin Firth, Tom Wilkinson and Beatrice Dalle, The Happy Prince is a portrait of the dark side of a genius who lived and died for love in the last days of the nineteenth century. The film opens in select theaters this weekend. Check out the trailer below and click here to pre-order your copy.
While you’re at it, you can always check out 1997’s Wilde with Stephen Fry and Jude Law; or maybe even Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine, a film that begins with a fantastical approximation of Wilde’s birth.