Thursday, 10 August 2017

WILDE (1997): tonight's film

WILDE (1997): tonight's film. I was sure it was in the collection, but my friend Alan said it was on the box, so I watched it there, because I couldn't find it on the shelves.

Hard to tell if Stephen Fry is playing anyone but himself, but then did Oscar Wilde? Maybe that makes it an excellent casting. I'd forgotten the role of Robbie Ross, so much the nicer and better lover that Bosie Douglas. And the bewildered kindness of his wife Constance, who beat him in the race to the grave. From such a distance it's hard to comprehend the soul-destruction of scandal in that kind of society.

I've seen it before but what struck me afresh was the children. I remember reading his shorter fiction (OUP, I think) and finding the stories mawkishly soppy, but deeply affecting. And that was then, when I was a harder and nastier brute than I am now. Sentimentality comes very easily to me, especially when it involves children, and I was left wondering whether that first part of his adult life was lived in order to have small people to tell stories to, and to be loved by.

I'm older now than Oscar, or Constance, or Robbie Ross, lived to be. And I've no small people to tell stories to.

It was a less fluffy experience than I was expecting. But worth it.

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