The Happy Prince Screen 4 articles

The Happy Prince

2018

The Happy Prince Poster
  • Half the time you don’t know which 1970s TV comedian Everett’s going to look like next – sometimes like Frankie Howerd, sometimes Ken Dodd. But the comic grotesquerie only enhances the real sense of tragic fuck-it-all doom. There’s not much evidence Everett can really direct – way too much in-your-face shaky camera for my taste – yet he can roar with the roaring boys and almost by force of camp will he’s made the most startling British costume drama biopic I’ve seen in a while.

  • It may lack a convincing narrative focus, but finds a firm anchor in Everett’s performance. Every scene draws its energy from its star, and all efforts (including cameo-sized appearances from Colin Firth, Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson) are in support of the film’s lead. The restless camera, fussy and frustrating at other times, becomes locked in his orbit, taking any opportunity to highlight the details in his craft in gratifying close-up.

  • The result is a lush, dense dream narrative, anchored by a lead performance from Everett that is alternately vain, tender, boisterous, and melancholy.

  • Wilde’s mighty struggle with himself, with his heavenly talent and earthly lusts, and the meaning of it all resonates so strongly with the direction and performance that The Happy Prince is easily elevated past period Victoriana (and that wallpaper) to move and engage in equal parts.

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