In 1930, Mrs. Erlynne (Helen Hunt), who describes herself as poor and infamous, driven from New York City society by jealous wives, sees a news photo of wealthy Lord Windermere (Mark Umbers) and his young wife (Scarlett Johansson). She heads for the Amalfi Coast to be amongst the rich and famous for “the season” and to snare Mr. Windermere. Gossips twitter as he spends his afternoons with her, his wife blissfully innocent as she blushingly fends off attentions from a young English nobleman, an international playboy who thinks he’s in love. Mrs. Erlynne is also pursued by a worldly-wise older English nobleman. Mrs. Windermere’s twentieth birthday party approaches, where all plays out amidst numerous amoral Wildean aphorisms.
User Reviews: I almost didn’t bother to see this, but I’m pleased that I did.
As noted by other comment writers, the strength of this film is the two fine performances of Helen Hunt and Tom Wilkinson, especially Wilkinson in the role of Tuppy.
The film suffers the usual foibles of a stage adaptation, with some scenes seeming very contrived, as the characters linger at bars and exchange witticisms. On the other hand the writer and director have made a serious effort to address this problem and succeed in parts, (Lady Windermere and Lord Darlington’s stroll through the fish sellers is a memorable example).
I am not familiar with the original play and especially towards the end was quite swept along by the narrative tension, which again was a very pleasant surprise.
So in conclusion, a clever little story, some fine performances and a stack of Wilde’s incisive aphorisms on the vagaries of the human condition. What’s not too like? It deserves to be widely seen, so get out and see it before it’s too late!