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An Ideal Husband

When a member of Parliament (Jeremy Northam) learns that his career and marriage will suffer scandal unless he submits to a blackmailer (Julianne Moore), he turns his fate over to lifelong bachelor Lord Goring (Rupert Everett), "the idlest man in London." Brimming with witticisms and great performances (including those from Cate Blanchett and Minnie Driver), this big-screen adaptation of Oscar Wilde's stage play sparkles like vintage champagne.
HD Available
Netflix Rating: 3.5
Rotten Tomatoes: Fresh 86%
Critics' score: 86   Audience score: 66   Rotten Tomatoes page
Top Rotten Tomatoes Critics

An enjoyable, minor, lustrously shot revamping of Oscar Wilde's play about the perpetually interlocked manners of love and deception. full review

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Smooth-flowing direction, a shrewdly pruned script and a top-flight ensemble cast that visibly relishes both the dialogue and one another's perfs make this a tony item for upscale, mature audiences. full review

Derek Elley, Variety

Parker has made a sensible cinematic translation of Wilde's play, intercutting scenes which would have been played consecutively on the stage. full review

Jeff Millar, Houston Chronicle

[I]t's likely that Mr. Wilde, who once wrote, 'A poet can survive anything but a misprint,' would have been less than thrilled with the result. full review

Globe and Mail, Globe and Mail

Wilde was always about lots more than witty repartee, and as sparkling as his play is as drawing-room comedy, it reveals his concern with the timeless values of unselfish love and forgiveness. full review

Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

In adapting the play, Mr. Parker has streamlined and rewritten Wilde's dialogue, keeping some (but not all) of Wilde's biting epigrams and scraping off a lot (perhaps too much) of the Victorian crust. full review

Stephen Holden, New York Times

[T]his Husband plods and ambles and bears the burden of a soundtrack that resembles a wimpy meditation tape. full review

Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle

[The] film is hardly memorable, but it's amusing enough for two hours, and it never panders or cloys. full review

Amy Taubin, Village Voice

An irresistible concoction of brilliant dialogue, sumptuous set design, top-notch acting, and a plot littered with Machiavellian twists. full review

James Berardinelli, ReelViews

Our familiarity with the actors, and their comfort in this period setting, lend the piece an unexpected air of naturalism. full review

Peter Rainer, New York Magazine

An Ideal Husband works because Wilde created an expert mechanism (kind of slow-motion serious screwball comedy) for manipulating the plot and characters. full review

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Parker, who himself adapted Wilde's play for the movie, takes what to purists may be an unforgivable number of liberties with the story, fleshing out the plot and even adding dialogue. full review

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com

Much of the four acts of An Ideal Husband, a serious comedy, is constructed out of flip one-liners, most of which remain, though Parker has added a few, all unworthy of the master. full review

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
full review by Susan Stark, Detroit News
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