An Ideal Husband

Stars:  Julianne Moore, Jeremy Northam, Cate Blanchett

A dirty secret threatens the political and social demise of Sir Robert Chilton in this adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play set in 1895, London.

With the arrival of Laura Cheveley (Julianne Moore), Chilton (Jeremy Northam), his wife Gertrude (Cate Blanchett), as well as Chilton’s sister Mabel (Minnie Driver) and best friend Lord Arthur Goring (Rupert Everett) get caught up in a blackmail scheme being perpetrated by Mrs. Cheveley.

Mrs. Cheveley has a certain letter that is sure to wreck Chilton’s career, seriously compromise his status in high society, and destroy the most precious love he has with his wife.

It is amazing how the subjects of treachery, connivance and duplicity can be so palatable when presented in costume, refined language and accent. This is a superb screenplay by director Oliver Parker.

It’s a high stakes duel of wits. Actions and words are cleverly mistaken all because it would be impolite in this society to interrupt, stop a departure or reveal one’s true feelings. That’s high society for you.

Lighthearted moments come from Goring’s dalliances with the ladies and his inability to commit himself to Mabel. He is both extraordinarily vain and arrogant, yet soft around the edges which makes him quite likeable. It is his character upon which the solution to the problem presented by Mrs. Cheveley, resides.

All of the elements here make for an intriguing and well played drama.

Lotta says: Don’t be mislead by the videobox graphic. “An Ideal Husband” looks like it’s lightweight fare but it’s really complex in characterization and storyline. An excellent rental choice.