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An Ideal Husband  

Sir Robert Chiltern (Jeremy Northam)
Lord Arthur Goring (Rupert Everett)
Gertrude Chiltern (Cate Blanchett)
Mabel Chiltern (Minnie Driver)
Mrs. Cheveley (Julianne Moore)

Directed by Oliver Parker Written by Oliver Parker, based on Oscar Wilde's 1895 play Rated PG-13 for brief sensuality and nudity. Running Time: 97 minutes Distributed by Miramax Films
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An Ideal Husband is a funny and entertaining film. The film is based on Oscar Wilde's 1895 British play about blackmail, love, friendship, and society. The story follows Lord Arthur Goring (Everett), a rich bachelor who is stuck on himself. Goring's best friend, Sir Robert Chiltern, is a well-respected politician, who gets blackmailed by Mrs. Cheveley (Moore). Mrs. Cheveley is a pure sarcastic and villainous woman who knows of Sir Robert's dark past. In addition to helping his friend, Goring tries to also please everyone. His father is always harping on how pathetic he is and how he needs to get married soon. Then there is Gertrude Chiltern (Blanchett), Sir Robert's wife, who begins to believe her husband is hiding something. Goring also blows off Mabel Chiltern (Driver), Sir Robert's sister, who has a crush on Goring by her body language. Finally, Goring encounters the villain, Mrs. Cheveley, a scene, which reveals his wit. The movie is set in 1895, and the costumes and sets are true to the piece. The costumes change throughout the movie, from two different parties, to the House of Parliament, to everyday wear in the period.

An Ideal Husband has a strong and gifted cast of actors. Rupert Everett is very cool, cocky and funny. He simply restores the character first created by Oscar Wilde. Jeremy Northam finally gets to prove his talent, after working in awful movies like Mimic and The Net, and having a pivotal small role in Amistad. Cate Blanchett continues to do very good work. I like seeing Blanchett in more independent films like An Ideal Husband, where she pushes the medium, than in big productions like her last film Pushing Tin. In addition, Minnie Driver adds another impressive credential to her resume. Last, but not least, Julianne Moore's turn as a perniptuous bitch is excellent. This is her best work to date, next to Boogie Nights for which she received an Oscar Nomination. I am glad to see Moore working lately with unique characters like Mrs. Cheveley and her last role in Cookie's Fortune. After seeing the Psycho remake, I thought her career might be turning down the wrong road, but I was wrong because with her performance in An Ideal Husband she is no where near a dead end.

An Ideal Husband was adapted and written for the screen by Oliver Parker. There are scenes in the film where you can tell that is was first a play, but the actions and dialogue blend into these scenes well. Parker wrote half the script in Wilde's dialogue and the other half in his own. Parker also directed the movie, which was an obvious choice of vision for the film, since he inked the script from a play.

This is an enjoyable film with a classic setting and story. The story is very original so it doesn’t matter what setting you it's used in, it would still be good.

Report Card Grade: B

Beastman's Movie Reviews
Copyright, 1999 Joseph C. Tucker

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