The Happy Prince (2018)

I’ve watched The Happy Prince, Rupert Everett’s 2018 dramatisation of the Oscar Wilde story. Unlike the 1997 version starring Stephen Fry, Everett focussed on his final years after leaving prison. Although the film signals its virtue before the final credits by mentioning the 175,000 men convicted for homosexuality (which isn’t true seeing as homosexuality has never been an offence under English law), the film shows the wastage of Wilde’s talents and prospects. Having left prison, he had the opportunity to start afresh in France. In fact he produced very little writing, squandering what money he had on cocaine, booze, prostitution and the endless pursuit of pleasure. The male relationship that sent him to prison was renewed, to his further destruction. Bloated and sweaty, dishevelled and pathetic, one of the nineteenth century’s wittiest and artistic minds entered its final chapter. Sin is a wasting disease. It retards and destroys natural talents, strangles relationships and deadens the spirit. Paul urges:

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness 2 Timothy 2:22
I watched it at the Glasgow Film Theatre, an Art Deco independent cinema patronised and frequented by students and artistic, bohemian types. I suspect I was the only one contemplating the nature of sin after that screening, but the heart-breaking effects of Wilde’s demise cannot have been lost on anyone.