Julian Mitchell’s screenplay, supposedly based on Richard Ellmann’s biography of Oscar Wilde, focuses exclusively on the last stages of Wilde’s life and career: his marriage, his tortured relationship with Lord Alfred Bosie Douglas (played here by Jude Law in an upper-class reprise of his role in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), and his subsequent martyrdom in court and in prison prior to his death. Though Brian Gilbert’s direction is certainly adequate, the only good reason for seeing this 1997 feature is Stephen Fry’s wonderfully nuanced, sweet-tempered, and charismatic performance as Wilde; almost everything else is PC hindsight and Merchant-Ivory spreads, though Vanessa Redgrave turns up briefly as Oscar’s mother. 115 min. (JR)

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