You could be forgiven for thinking that a blog about Oscar Wilde might not be the most objective forum for a film about Oscar Wilde—perhaps being too close to its subject to see it as one would ordinarily.
However, the opposite turns out to be true about The Happy Prince (2018) because it is no ordinary film. It warrants a specialist view being itself the work of an Oscar Wilde specialist.
Rupert Everett has played Wilde’s fictional characters both on stage and in film; he has already appeared as Oscar Wilde himself in David Hare’s The Judas Kiss on both sides of the Atlantic; and, after spending an age poring over Wilde’s works in homage to his patron saint, Everett has spent the last ten years of his life taking on a tide of personal and industry challenges in order to craft this film.
It is an effort that lays bare a more compelling reason why the film should not be regarded as just another movie. And it is a reason Everett shares with the artist Basil Hallward (in Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray) who accepted that his portrait of Dorian was not just another painting. He confessed: “I have put too much of myself into it.”
Wilde explained this characteristically philosophical view of art when he said:
“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”
So it is with Everett, whose devotion during a decade of writing, directing, and now acting in a lifetime passion, might also be regarded as his art. Certainly, The Happy Prince is a highly personalized vision: a dark introspection with the protagonist in almost every scene.
So the inference is that we should not approach the film routinely from the outside in, but rather the other way around. Taken on those terms, there is much to admire, not only for the specialist but for the generalist viewer.
Let us look at it, as Everett did, through that lens.
The 2018 Sundance Film Festival gets underway today, January 18th, and making its world premiere is The Happy Prince written and directed byRupert Everett.
It is the story of the last days of Oscar Wilde—and the ghosts haunting them brought to vivid life. His body ailing, Wilde lives in exile, surviving on the flamboyant irony and brilliant wit that defined him as the transience of lust is laid bare and the true riches of love are revealed. Or so it says here.
The film features Rupert Everett as Wilde and Emily Watson as Constance, along with Colin Firth, Colin Morgan, and Edwin Thomas.
The above appraisal is from a recent edition of the U.S. version of Antiques Roadshow, and features a manuscript sonnet by Oscar Wilde which has recently come to light.
While it is a newly discovered manuscript, it is not a newly discovered poem. It is one from the Wilde canon which he retitled as Ideal Love andpresented with a dedication to an acquaintance named Christian Gauss, a young American journalist.
The sin was mine; I did not understand. So now is music prisoned in her cave, Save where some ebbing desultory wave Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand. And in the withered hollow of this land Hath Summer dug herself so deep a grave, That hardly can the silver willow crave One little blossom from keen Winter’s hand.
But who is this who cometh by the shore? (Nay, love, look up and wonder!) Who is this Who cometh in dyed garments from the South? It is thy new-found Lord, and he shall kiss The yet unravished roses of thy mouth, And I shall weep and worship, as before. 
A scholarly analysis of this discovery and the intriguing history of Wilde’s poem can be found in the current edition of the The Wildean, the journal the Oscar Wilde Society.