Projections - Movie Reviews

An Ideal Husband

Adopted from Oscar Wilde's 1895 play, this romantic comedy is as entertaining and on-the-mark
today as when it was first performed.

Set in London at the height of the social scene, the wealthy elite entertain themselves by going to museums, taking afternoon carriage rides and attending galas where they mingle with other rich people.

Bored with their familiar surroundings and the same faces, things begin to sizzle when an attractive, twice divorced Laura Cheveley arrives on the scene.

Mrs. Cheveley, played delightfully by Julianne Moore, has a mischievous smile and a naughty twinkle in her eye.  She's determined to stir up things between an old school mate, Lady Gertrud (Cate Blanchett), and her adoring husband Sir Robert Chictern.

Sir Robert, played admirably by Jeremy Northan, is Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs and the target of Mrs. Cheveley's malice.

She has a damning letter that outlines a dishonorable deed that Robert committed as a young man which catapulted his political career and fortune.  She's using it to blackmail him into publicly changing his position on a phony scheme that she has heavily invested in.

Morals and honor are the main themes here.  Lady Gertrud is an unforgiving soul and Robert fears the loss of her respect and most of all her love.

To the rescue is Robert's debonair friend, perennial bachelor, Lord Goring (played by the charming Rupert Everett).  He acts as if he's an uninterested bystander at social events and aloof with his acquaintances.  But he turns out to be a good friend to the couple and does his best to try to keep them together.

Minnie Driver adds a sweet touch as Robert's pouting, flirtatious sister and John Wood is delightful as Goring's father.  The banter between father and son is worth the price of admission alone.

In fact, all of the dialogue is snappy and witty, these characters actually have something to say to one another - unlike most scripts where the dialogue is used merely to set up the next special effect.

With a superb cast, opulent settings and smart story, An Ideal Husband is a refreshing summer find.

An Ideal Husband
A Top Ten pick for 1999

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