An Ideal Husband 8/10
An Ideal Husband (R) 1999
Reviewer’s Tilt (7)
Special DVD Features worth a look-None
Rupert Everett plays 19th century Lord Goring, a self-involved playboy and misanthrope with a keen sardonic wit. When it appears his good friend and gentleman Sir Robert (Jeremy Northam) may have become ensnared by a past transgression, Lord Goring casts aside his ennui to come to the rescue of his friend. Unfortunately for Lord Goring, his involvement drives matters even further awry. The addition of Goring’s blackmailing ex-lover (Julianne Moore), Sir Robert’s adoring wife (Cate Blanchett) and Sir Robert’s beautiful sister (Minnie Driver) certainly appears to foreshadow the downfall of both men.
As this film is based upon the play by Oscar Wilde, however, you know this could never be the case. Wilde’s story plays upon the stoic hypocrisy of English convention. Under this regime, no deceit, however grave, is contemptible unless society finds out. Flawlessly adopting Wilde’s acidic tongue, Everett simultaneously narrates the tale, while working to extricate himself and his friends from the direst of circumstances. As implausible as it is that either Wilde or Everett would retire their playboy status for an ingénue, the mere possibility certainly livens the plot.
The only thing keeping this fine film from a perfect rating is the modifications made to Oscar Wilde’s original text. Such an undertaking reflects the height of hubris. That being said, take solace in the large portion of Wilde that remains. You may catch most of the humor upon a simple listen, but run the subtitles to prevent missing even a single pearl.
Format: Color, Widescreen Anamorphic, Closed captioned.
Sound: (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Extras: Making-of featurette, trailer.