An Ideal Husband (PG)

Directed by Oliver Parker
Starring Rupert Everett, Cate Blanchett, Jeremy Northam, Juliann Moore, Minnie Driver

An adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play, with a role seemingly perfect for Rupert Everett after his re-birth with My Best Friend's Wedding a year or so back. And indeed, Everett is an ideal Oscar Wilde star. The Wilde witticisms are delivered perfectly, and he is the main reason for seeing this rather disappointingly turgid film.

Northam and Blanchett are the golden couple, Sir Robert and Lady Chiltern. He is a politician, she his clever and much loved wife. However, nasty Mrs Chevely (Juliann Moore), turns up with a blackmail threat for Sir Robert - a shady incident from his past that she has proof of. The couple turn to their good friend Lord Arthur Goring(Everett) who is conducting a strange romance with Sir Robert's sister Mable(Driver), to help them out. He knows Mrs Chevely and tries to help his friends.

The film is at its best when the characters are being sparkling and witty, the earnest melodrama is frankly dull and unconvincing. Poor Cate Blanchett just gets to simper and Jeremy Northam looks pained. I found Julieann Moore's performance to be too arch and mannered. Only Everett and Minnie Driver brought any life to the film. A host of British character actors also get a look in, such as Peter Vaughn and Lindsay Duncan and many more.

The stagey-ness and weak storyline made for a slow moving film with unconvincing confrontations. Pretty frocks and elegant gentlemen can only be fun to watch for so long. However, Everett almost makes this film worth watching. He is debonaire and sexy. The fact that he is gay certainly did not affect my opinion of him as totally gorgeous. Charming, handsome and with just enough vanity to be endearing rather than irritating, this man is a star! This film however was a bore.....5/10

April 1999

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