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:: The Importance Of Being Earnest

Rupert Everett seems to have been born to star in adaptations of Oscar Wilde’s plays, having already been in An Ideal Husband, also directed by Oliver Parker. He excels at the slightly smug, witty delivery required and it is perhaps the only circumstance where audiences will accept him as a straight romantic lead.

The cast of The Importance of Being Earnest all seem perfectly at home. Reese Witherspoon being the only stranger to period drama among them and she is mainly only required to look pretty, which she does. They all give good life to Oscar Wilde’s words and it is the words that star despite Parker’s sometimes ill advised moments of fantasy and slightly too modern musical score. The duet by Everett and Firth is however, a very funny addition.

The plot is convoluted when written down but makes perfect sense when you see it on the screen. Jack Worthing (Firth) lives in the country with his ward Cecilia (Witherspoon). He leads a respectable and responsible life, dashing into town to rescue his good for nothing brother Ernest from various scrapes. Only his brother is a creation of Jack’s, and excuse for him to have a good time in town and see his old friend, Algy Moncrieff (Everett), who has created a fictional character, Bunbury, a sick friend, who enables him to get out of awkward engagements at a moment’s notice. As Ernest, Jack is in love with Gwendolen (O’Connor), and it is posing as Ernest that Algy meets and falls in love with Cecily, who has been in love with the idea of him, especially his name, for months.

There follows a light romantic farce peppered with outstanding one liners, mainly by Dame Judi Dench as the formidable Lady Bracknell, like “London society is full of women who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty five for years.” A happy coincidence insures everyone can live happily ever after and nothing too troublesome ever occurs.

It was great to see Rupert Everett back on the big screen. He seems to have been in nothing of note since My Best Friend’s Wedding, in 1997. He shines, along with the cast and Oscar Wilde, in a light, entertaining comedy that will leave you tantalised, if not quite satisfied.

Screening at the Classic Cinemas, Cinema Nova, Cinema Como, Balwyn Cinemas, Brighton Bay Cinemas, and Cinema Europa Southland.