An Ideal Husband
In a year full of special effects, one of 1999's most intelligent pleasures was a special affect namely, the dryly funny, self-loving affectations of Rupert Everett in An Ideal Husband. Adapted from the Oscar Wilde play by director Oliver Parker (Othello), Husband is a clever romantic comedy of manners set in turn-of-the-century England. The film follows rising social star Robert Chiltern (Jeremy Northam) whose past ethical indiscretion comes back to haunt him in the person of a scheming widow (Julianne Moore). Lord Arthur Goring (Everett) the witty, lazy, foppish rich, incredibly likable know-it-all who serves as Wilde's thematic mouthpiece intervenes on behalf of Chiltern, with mixed results. The cast is uniformly excellent; of course, when that cast includes Northam, Moore, Everett, Cate Blanchett, and Minnie Driver, how couldn't it? It's Everett, however, who walks away with the film much as he did with My Best Friend's Wedding tossing off lines like "To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance" with narcissistic impunity. While An Ideal Husband gets off to a slow start, it quickly builds to an involving, funny climax that packs a few genuine surprises. Not bad for a 100-year-old screenplay. Good transfer, DD 5.1, "making-of" featurette, trailer.