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The Importance Of Being Earnest

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Released 2002

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Movie Summary

Director:
Oliver Parker
Released:
2002
Rating:
PG

The Importance of Being Earnest is a 2002 adaptation of the much-loved play by Oscar Wilde. Its two main characters, Jack Worthing and Algernon Montcrieff get themselves into an interwoven comedy of errors when they both adopt the name Ernest for their own selfish ends. Jack Worthing (Colin Firth) invents an ailing brother of his named Ernest to escape to the country while he is living in London. While pretending to be Ernest, he falls in love with Gwendolen Fairfax (Frances O'Connor) and becomes engaged to her. Meanwhile, hearing of the beauty of Jack's young charge, and the ease with which Jack adopts his second persona, his wily and scheming friend Algernon (Rupert Everett), adopts the guise of Ernest to win the heart of Cecily (Reese Witherspoon). Cecily becomes quite smitten with him, to the worry of Jack and the delight of Algernon. When the two men both come visiting at once, hilarity and confusion ensues as the issue of too many Ernests comes to a head.

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Metacritic Score

  • 70

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    For all its distractions and additions, The Importance of Being Earnest is still a reasonably entertaining costume comedy. Wilde's satirical voice may be muffled, but at least it i...

  • 70

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas

    The result is a film that is at best highly uneven and perversely at odds with itself. Luckily, Wilde's delicious sense of absurdity and peerlessly witty dialogue are pretty indest...

  • 20

    Variety Robert Koehler

    A comedy in the last century and a drama in the new one. At least, that's the dumbfounding impression left by writer-director Oliver Parker's utterly miscalculated film adaptation ...

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    Categories

    Comedy, Drama

    Themes

    Historical, Love & Romance