the happy prince (Rupert Everett) is a richly detailed and deeply affecting look at the final days of Oscar Wilde. Exiled from London after being released from prison for a conviction of “gross indecency,” the demoralized writer (Rupert Everett) is eking out an existence in France and Italy with the help of friends and former lovers, including the fatally glamorous Alfred Bosie Douglas (Colin Morgan). Everett, who’s starred in adaptations of Wilde’s works, skilfully mixes past and present, contrasting the great wit in his prime (the bons mots come effortlessly) with poignant, but never sentimental, scenes of hardship. It takes a while for Everett’s symbolic use of Wilde’s eponymous children’s tale to pay off, and the starry cast (Emily Watson, Colin Firth) is often underused. But what’s most refreshing is this is clearly the work of a queer man. Everett doesn’t sanitize or de-sex his Wilde, giving him a libidinous glint in his eye even when approaching death. 105 min. nnnn (Glenn Sumi)
Colin Firth (left), Rupert Everett and Edwin Thomas bring Oscar Wilde’s final days to life.