Friday, December 5, 2014

Movie #284: An Ideal Husband

An Ideal Husband is a comedy based on the play of the same name by Oscar Wilde, and starring Rupert Everett, Jeremy Northam, Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett, and Minnie Driver.

Lord Arthur Goring (Everett) is a self-described idlest man in England. His friend Sir Robert Chiltern (Northam) is, by contrast, a dedicated and earnest public servant, and his wife Gertrude (Blanchett) adores and idolizes him. But then the sinister Mrs. Chevely (Moore) blows into town, the former lover of Goring and schoolmate of Gertrude (neither of whom trust her much).

She immediately blackmails Chiltern into supporting a canal concern in which she's heavily invested, threatening to expose the shady deal by which he made his fortune. She ups the ante by revealing the truth to his wife. Meanwhile, Goring does his best to help out, and finally succeeds, with the help of Chiltern's sister, Mabel (Driver).

In the meanwhile, of course, there are lots of missed connections, misunderstandings, and sexual innuendo. It's a Wilde play, and Goring is pretty clearly Wilde's self-insert. He gets some of the best lines, but no one goes hungry for good dialog. The cast also has great chemistry; you completely buy Northam and Blanchett as a couple that worships each other, and Driver and Everett as a couple that thinks they're just snarky friends, but actually suit each other nicely. Julianne Moore turns in a nicely paced performance; she goes from manipulative to vulnerable to still evil without any jarring shifts.

Overall, it's a fun, light, and very watchable movie.

My Grade: B+
Rewatch value: Medium-high, especially if Michelle's around

Next up: The Incredibles