Thursday, May 16, 2013

Inspiring Films: The Importance of Being Earnest

Okay, I'm not really one for the whole "comedy of manners" genre, but for this I make an exception: 

The Importance of Being Earnest.

Any literature or theater geek worth their salt will know of Oscar Wilde's play. The 2002 film version is a fun jaunt through the script, if not the world's best production. The main complaint that may be made of it is that it fails to walk the line between prettiness and wit; it veers too far toward the trappings of film and the jokes we favor in modern times and, along the way, loses some of the wit.

But, oh, is this a pretty film.

I own none of the images that follow.

Okay, first, our main characters, Jack and Algernon. This movie is a feast for period menswear fanatics. From the black formalwear:

to the more subdued suits for day:

To the traveling gear that looks positively at home on a hot air balloon:

Heck, even the mourning wear is classy and awesome:

I was never quite sure which I should examine more closely, the handsome men or their clothing. In the end, I decided that "both" was an acceptable answer.

The ladies, of course, are dressed in lovely turn-of-the-century clothing, too. Gwendolyn

And please ignore her molestation of Colin Firth here (or don't; it's your fangirl prerogative) and look at that fabulous cameo-and-pearl bracelet.

Meanwhile, Cecily, ward of Jack, gets some simpler outfits that are no less adorable:

And when the two of them are in a scene together? Let the dress-coveting begin...

The ladies in this film are as beautifully dressed as the men, and it's delightful to see all of their costume changes which, considering the play takes place over a relatively short period of time, are surprisingly numerous.

And, lest I forget, Dame Judi Dench as the formidable Lady Bracknell. Cue "Ride of the Valkyries." I'm not kidding. This is an accurate reaction to her presence in this film.

Seriously, this woman walks into the room and you can see everyone present gird their loins, and she has a wardrobe to match this level of badassery. From the enormous hats and rather intimidating furs (it still has a face)...

to the epic pearl jewelry...

to the hats (did I mention the hats?!)...

She is the most epic creature in this film. It's like the costuming gods descended and decided that an actress so wicked awesome needed a wardrobe to match.

This is definitely a movie I would recommend. Is it the best representation of Oscar Wilde's delightful comedy? No. Is it beautifully made and worth the watch despite the occasional issue with the presentation of the source material? Yes. Oh, yes.
“If I am occasionally a little over-dressed, I make up for it by being always immensely over-educated.”― Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest 

No comments:

Post a Comment