The Importance of Being Earnest

Watch The Importance of Being Earnest

"Everybody Loves Ernest... But Nobody's Quite Sure Who He Really Is."
  • PG
  • 2002
  • 1 hr 37 min
  • 6.8  (24,613)
  • 60

The Importance of Being Earnest is a 2002 film adaptation of the famous Oscar Wilde play of the same name. Directed by Oliver Parker, the movie stars Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, and Frances O'Connor, and it offers a fresh and somewhat modern take on the witty and satirical story. The movie follows the two young aristocrats Algernon Moncrieff (Everett) and Jack Worthing (Firth), who both lead double lives in order to escape their responsibilities and find love. Algernon pretends to have a sick friend named Bunbury as an excuse to skip important appointments, while Jack has invented a younger, foolish brother called Ernest that he uses to disappear to London and win the heart of his beloved Gwendolen (O'Connor).

However, their lives take unexpected turns when they both fall in love with two young ladies who are obsessed with the name Ernest. Gwendolen and her best friend Cecily (played by Reese Witherspoon) both dream of marrying a man with that name, which leads to confusion, misunderstandings, and hilarious mix-ups as Algernon and Jack try to maintain their lies and woo the women they love.

The Importance of Being Earnest is a comedy of manners that mocks the Victorian society's values, norms, and hypocrisy with biting wit and satire. As the characters navigate their way through elaborate social rituals, etiquette rules, and aristocratic conventions, they reveal their true selves and desires, often with humorous and surprising results.

The movie showcases a stellar cast that brings Wilde's characters to life with charm, charisma, and impeccable timing. Rupert Everett steals the show as the flamboyant and irreverent Algernon, delivering Wilde's clever lines with flair and style. Colin Firth, on the other hand, portrays the more subdued and conflicted Jack with a sense of vulnerability and dignity that adds depth to the character.

Frances O'Connor is also delightful as the elegant and headstrong Gwendolen, who knows what she wants and pursues it with a fierce determination. Reese Witherspoon, in one of her early post-Legally Blonde roles, shines as the naïve and romantic Cecily who falls madly in love with Jack's alter ego Ernest.

Besides its cast, the movie also features lush cinematography, sumptuous costumes, and witty dialogue that capture the essence of Wilde's world and satirical humor. The sets and locations transport the audience to a refined and opulent Victorian era, while the music adds a playful and whimsical touch to the proceedings.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the movie is how it balances the timeless appeal of Wilde's original play with some clever modernizations that make the story more relatable and engaging to contemporary audiences. For instance, the movie highlights the LGBTQ+ undertones of the play by fleshing out Algernon's and Jack's mutual attraction and adding some subtle hints of homoeroticism to their banter.

Moreover, the movie takes advantage of the visual medium to enhance the comedy and the absurdity of some scenes, such as the ones involving Gwendolen's and Cecily's fantasies about their ideal husband, or the climactic showdown between Algernon and Jack over their true identities.

Overall, The Importance of Being Earnest is a charming, witty, and entertaining movie that does justice to Wilde's masterpiece while offering a fresh and modern take on the story. With its superb cast, lush production values, and biting satire, it's a delightful comedy of manners that showcases the enduring relevance and appeal of Wilde's genius.

The Importance of Being Earnest is a 2002 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 37 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 60.

The Importance of Being Earnest
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 37 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (24,613)
  • Metascore