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The Importance of Being Earnest
The Importance of Being Earnest
Actors: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Frances O'Connor, Reese Witherspoon, Judi Dench
Director: Oliver Parker
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
PG     2002     1hr 37min

Starring Reese Witherspoon (LEGALLY BLONDE), Colin Firth (BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY), and Rupert Everett (MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING), here is the hilarious adventure of two dashing young bachelors and the outrageous deceptions ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Frances O'Connor, Reese Witherspoon, Judi Dench
Director: Oliver Parker
Creators: Tony Pierce-Roberts, Oliver Parker, Guy Bensley, Barnaby Thompson, David Brown, Uri Fruchtmann, Oscar Wilde
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Romantic Comedies, Love & Romance
Studio: Miramax
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 11/12/2002
Original Release Date: 01/01/2002
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2002
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 37min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Import
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French

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Member Movie Reviews

Curtis M. (halliard)
Reviewed on 8/18/2013...
This is a cute and light hearted flick with no foul language, car chases, or kick-em-up fights used to fill in for a lack of plot.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Vanessa V. (sevenspiders)
Reviewed on 2/26/2009...
This is not a period drama for people looking for deep, thwarted passions; The Importance of Being Earnest is pure fantasy with its rich, lovable and completely irresponsible heroes & heroines making a tangled mess of their lives & love affairs. But Oscar Wilde makes frivolousness more charming and substantial than anyone else ever has, and he has no better living disciple than Rupert Everett.

Everett perfectly captures the sly, self-indulgent charm that makes Wilde's story such escapist fun and the rest of the cast catches his infectious appeal. Reese Witherspoon and Frances O'Connor strike the perfect balance between romantic naivete and haughtiness. Colin Firth, as Everett's ostensibly more responsible friend, plays off him perfectly. And as always, Dame Judi Dench commands every scene she's in.

This movie is a romp, pure and simple. With some of the most absurd situations and ridiculous dialogue imaginable, it still catches the fancy and paints a bright pastel world that would be so much fun to visit.
6 of 7 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Excellent Film Version of Oscar Wilde's Funniest Work
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 06/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I consider THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST to be the funniest play in the English language, and the greatest comedy in the language not written by William Shakespeare. The play contains one hysterical line after another, and one brilliant comic situation after another. For anyone who has not seen or read the play, this movie version will be a very excellent introduction to it.The cast is superb, and could hardly have been improved upon among today's actors and actresses. Colin Firth is a natural to play Jack Worthing AKA Ernest, and Rupert Everett is utterly perfect as Algernon. Frances O'Connor, upon whom I must confess I have a gigantic crush, plays Gwendolyn, and Reese Witherspoon does a superb job portraying a young Englishwoman. Judi Dench hands in yet another strong performance as Lady Bracknell. The performances of all of these performers are completely satisfying.Nevertheless, the movie fails to be the definitive film version of Wilde's play. There are two reasons for this. The first is the presence of an earlier, stronger film. The second is a series of bad decisions made in the making of this film. Taking the second point first, this new film makes a number of embellishments and alterations in the Wilde play, most of which are not very successful and are more than a little distracting. For instance, much of the first scene of the play is relocated in a number of locations, including a brothel, instead of Algernon's lodgings. Instead of arriving at Jack Worthing's country estate by rail, Algernon arrives by hot air balloon (!) and Gwendolyn arrives by motorcar. There are a number of scenes in which Cecily imagines knights and nymphs that are quite grating. And, worst of all, Gwendolyn has "Ernest" tattooed on her buttocks, a rather absurd addition. None of these make the movie more enjoyable, and primarily serve as distractions. There are also several scenes with creditors chasing Algernon, attempting to collect debts. All could have been deleted and we would have been left with a stronger and more interesting movie.The first mentioned obstacle to this becoming the definitive screen version is the 1952 film directed by Anthony Asquith. As good as the current cast is, the prior cast was, with only one exception, much stronger. Michael Redgrave was, I have to admit, a much better Jack Worthing than Colin Firth. And while I adore Frances O'Connor, Joan Greenwood was probably the best Gwendolyn one could possibly imagine. Anyone doubting this should do a line-by-line comparison between the two performances. Take just one line, when Gwendolyn says, "I have the gravest doubts upon the subject. But I intend to crush them." O'Connor delivers the line excellently, but Greenwood, with her magnificent, deep, rich, plummy voice stretches the line out magnificently, caressing every syllable. Rupert Everett surpasses the performance of Michael Dennison as Algernon, and Reese Witherspoon comes close to matching Dorothy Tutin as Cecily, but not even the great Judi Dench can come close to Dame Edith Evans extraordinary performance as Lady Bracknell. The 1952 version also featured the inimitable and unforgettable Margaret Rutherford as Miss Prism and Miles Malleson as Rev. Chasuble. The one way in which the newer film surpasses the earlier film is in making the entire affair feel more like a film than a filmed play. As fine as the Redgrave-Greenwood version was, it was pretty much a straight filming of the play, with very little in the way of deviation or departure. The new film makes considerable effort to be more dynamic visually and to break up the scenes so that it isn't transparently Act One and Act Two and so forth.I heartily recommend this new version of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, but I would also very strongly urge any lover of the play or this new film to seek out the earlier film. It may be more stagy and static, but the performances make it the definitive film version of this great play."
The Importance of Being Accurate
Nacie | 09/04/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Any film that boasts, "Based on a play by Oscar Wilde, additional dialogue by" anybody at all immediately goes on my suspicious list. What, a screenplay ready-made by one of the wittiest playwrights of all time isn't good enough? Especially when the "additions" add unnecessary plot twists (Algie getting arrested? Lady Bracknell as a chorine? Hello?!) and, worst of all, change the ending. Rupert Everett exchanges his ebullient and suave persona, so admirably displayed in "An Ideal Husband," for a faded, dissolute air which he suddenly replaces with, yes, earnestness for the final scene. Dame Judi Dench, normally a comic delight, tanks all too many lines by stating them with enraged self-importance. Reese Witherspoon is lightweight--not entirely her fault, since the director cuts her lines and replaces them with bizarre dream sequences--and Frances O'Connor is simply unpleasant. Both women's roles were originally written as supremely practical EXCEPT for their strange fascination for a certain name; this movie makes that fixation the most sane thing about them. I am giving this movie one star solely for the presence of Colin Firth, whose modulated and occasionally exultant performance is as near to right-on as this movie will allow. Too bad he didn't get to deliver his penultimate line as Wilde intended; he would have done it well. Skip this film. Watch the witty and elegant Michael Redgrave version instead."
Bet You Didn't Know They Had Butt Tattoos & Thong-Bikini Und
John Salonia Jr. | New Jersey | 03/15/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"First off, the 3-star rating reflects a split opinion. The splendid cast deserves 4 stars, Alas, the film rates only 2 at best, and I'll explain why.

The problem is that writer-director Oliver Parker obviously doesn't trust Wilde to be funny enough. So he tarts up Oscar's masterpiece with some truly dumb interpolations (see below). Worse, he cuts out far too many choice Wildean bits to make room for this nonsense. (In fairness, some of these cut bits appear in the "Behind the Scenes" featurette.)

Chief among the interpolated idiocies are chase scenes (what is this, a Mack Sennett 2-reeler?); balloon rides; ragtime music; Gwendolyn getting her butt tattooed (while wearing fanny-floss panties -- yeah, that's really Victorian); Jack & Algy's embarrassing minstrel act to woo the girls; far too many pseudo-Burne Jones medieval-symbolism shots; Lady B.'s scandalous past; and some wince-inducing attempts at witty dialogue that fit into Oscar's glorious stuff about as well as a limerick would fit into Shakespeare.

The cast cannot be faulted. Even when they're badly directed (e.g., Lady B.'s climactic sappy grin -- about as suitable to this quintessential tightass as the proverbial object floating in the proverbial punchbowl), the actors are marvelous. when allowed to do Wilde's actual dialogue, they're a joy to behold. Particularly worthy of note are Reese Witherspoon and Frances O'Connor, who are perfectly delectable as Gwendolyn & Cecily (no, not the Pigeon sisters, for all you Neil Simon fans). They effortlessly capture the worldly innocence and innocent worldliness of Wilde's most beguiling heroines.

The sets, photography & costumes are magnificent. If only Parker had trusted his source material a bit more, this would be an undisputed classic instead of an enjoyable near-miss."