Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • PG
  • Comedy, Romance
  • 1999
  • 94 mins

An Ideal Husband

An Ideal Husband

Synopsis

Cate Blanchett, Jeremy Northam and Rupert Everett star in Oliver Parker's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's class-conscious comedy

About

Before The Importance of Being Earnest (2002), Parker adapted and directed this less well known play by the master of the barbed epigram. The source material is impeccable and a high profile cast evidently relish each loaded line and artfully executed incident.

Lord Chiltern (Northam) is a rising politician with a murky past of which his wife (Blanchett) is blissfully unaware. Blackmailed by Mrs Cheveley (Moore) Chiltern turns to London's premiere idler Lord Goring (Everett) for support, who in turn falls for feisty society girl Mabel (Driver).

It's sumptuous to look at and the plot turns with the precision of a well-oiled engine. Wilde values wit above all else so while time may have blunted the satire, the sheer intelligence dazzles. As a suave statesman Northam is on home ground, and Driver possesses an impressive repertoire of comedy facial tics. But it's Everett's languid Goring who dominates, delivering his sparkling lines with a killer mix of boredom, cynicism and scorn. ("I love talking about nothing," he says. "It's the only thing I know anything about.")

Swiftly paced and played largely for laughs this is an elegant adaptation that pays attention to the characters' emotional lives while remaining loaded with the author's prickly wit. Wilde at heart indeed.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Cate Blanchett, Minnie Driver, Julianne Moore, John Wood, Jeroen Krabbé, Peter Vaughn, Jeremy Northam, Rupert Everett, Lindsay Duncan
  • Director: Oliver Parker
  • Screen Writer: Oliver Parker
  • Producer: Bruce Davey, Uri Fruchtman, Oliver Parker
  • Photographer: David Johnson
  • Composer: Charlie Mole

In a nutshell

Quality comedy with a sprinkling of romance, skilfully assembled by a director with a clear feel for the material. Performances are universally great and the dialogue, of course, is superb.

by Jon Fortgang

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Our Kind of Traitor

    Ewan McGregor, Damian Lewis and Naomie Harris star in this British spy thriller, adapted from the novel by John le Carré (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy).

  • Film4

    I Killed My Mother

    French Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan stars in his directorial debut, a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama about the bonds between mother and son.

  • Film4

    This Is 40 on Film4

    (2012) 124 mins 15 Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann star in writer-director-producer Judd Apatow's relationship comedy-drama, a 'sort of sequel' to his second hit feature, Knocked Up.

  • Film4

    The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones on Film4

    The first installment from Cassandra Clare's bestselling YA franchise starring Lily Collins.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Channel 4 announces major increase to Film4 funding

    Film4 funding has increased to a record £25m in 2016, with major new deals announced with Fox Searchlight and FP Films. Film4 will be backing new work from Lenny Abrahamson, Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrew H

  • Channel 4 Blog

    The 36th London Film Critics Circle Awards

    The Film4-backed 45 Years takes Best Actor, Best Actress and Best British Film at the 36th London Critics' Circle Film Awards Other prizes for Film4-backed films included Breakthrough Filmmaker for d

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share