The Importance of Being Earnest (2002 film)
|The Importance of Being Earnest|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Oliver Parker|
|Produced by||Barnaby Thompson|
|Screenplay by||Oliver Parker|
|Based on||The Importance of Being Earnest|
by Oscar Wilde
|Music by||Charlie Mole|
|Edited by||Guy Bensley|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
The Importance of Being Earnest is a 2002 British-American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Oliver Parker, based on Oscar Wilde's classic comedy of manners The Importance of Being Earnest. The original music score is composed by Charlie Mole. The film grossed $8.4 million in North America.
In this adaptation of Oscar Wilde's play about mistaken identities, two gentlemen in 1890s London use the same pseudonym, Ernest, for their secret courtship activities. Chaos ensues when both men find themselves face-to-face and have to explain who they really are.
- Rupert Everett as Algernon "Algy" Moncrieff
- Colin Firth as John "Jack" Worthing/Ernest
- Frances O'Connor as Gwendolen Fairfax
- Reese Witherspoon as Cecily Cardew
- Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell
- Tom Wilkinson as Dr Chasuble
- Anna Massey as Miss Prism
- Edward Fox as Lane
- Patrick Godfrey as Merriman
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- Dame Judi Dench portrayed Lady Bracknell for the third time, having been cast in the 1982 National Theatre revival and the 1995 BBC Radio 4 adaptation.
- Actress Finty Williams, who plays Lady Bracknell as a young dancer, is the daughter of Dame Judi Dench, who plays the older Lady Bracknell.
- The scenes where Rupert Everett slaps Colin Firth on his rear end and where Everett kisses Firth's cheek were ad libbed. Director Parker thought Firth's stunned reaction was so humorous he decided to leave it in.
- The business with 'Ernest's' bill at the Savoy, and with the money collectors coming to Jack's country home, are taken from material Wilde cut from the play prior to its publication.
- Though cut from the revised version, the gardener Molton can be seen in the background of many scenes.
- The producers of the film paid £50,000 to use West Wycombe Park as Jack's home in the country.
On review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, as of September 2012, the film holds a 58% approval rating, with the consensus "Oliver Parker's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic play is breezy entertainment, helped by an impressive cast, but it also suffers from some peculiar directorial choices that ultimately dampen the film's impact."
Box office performance
The Importance of Being Earnest grossed $8,384,929 domestically and $8,906,041 internationally for a worldwide total of $17,290,970, making the film a moderate box office success based on its $15 million budget.
Awards and nominations
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The film won the 2003 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists's Silver Ribbon award for Best Costume Design, the movie's costumes being designed by Maurizio Millenotti.