I just finished watching the movie Dorian Gray, after watching it and ignoring it three times since last night. I have been a fan of Oscar Wilde since the time I first read one of his works, specifically, Lady Windermere's Fan. I fell in love with his wit, his language, his sarcastic remarks and his obvious cynic tone laced with joie de vivre. I have been wanting to read The Portrait of Dorian Gray for a while now but have not been able to yet, so when I discovered that there was a movie, I was excited.
The movie started interesting enough; it captured me with its dark colours, thriller music and beautiful set of late 19th century England. I got even more interested by the presence of Colin Firth in the movie who portrayed the amazing, flawed, deeply-sinful character of Lord Henry Wotton.
I thought the movie was well-done, but the story surprised me because I had no idea what the book was about. However, I think the choice of actor for Dorian Gray could have been better (his acting was not on the same level as the others), even though it seemed to me they had chosen an actor who had much physical similarities with Oscar Wilde himself. This means that the director was intending to portray Gray as a personification of Wilde in real life which is a pretty safe bet knowing how Wilde lived in real life.
The novel seems to me as if it is Wilde's reflections upon his own life, his own philosophies and world views and the musings of what would happen if he let his imagination run free. Wilde was the founder of Aesthetics and professed lover of beauty and anything related to it. He loved the arts, he loved life and he pursued beauty relentlessly and with such passion that he was well-known for his scandals. He was a bisexual and a scoundrel and you can find all of these in Dorian Gray.
Gray is Oscar Wilde and Lord Henry Wotton (Harry) is Oscar Wilde, but they symbolize two different parts of him or his character. The way Lord Harry talks is the way Wilde would talk which makes me think that this is the cynical side of Wilde, this is who he normally is in real life. Meanwhile, Gray is who he was as a young person and who he becomes later on, or who he thinks would he would be if he were to follow all of his wildest dreams. Lord Harry is the temptation and the devil behind Dorian's choices and his like of hedonism and aesthetic world view intrigue Dorian and lead him to make the mistakes he does. The movie is mostly about graphic beauty than character development and this is where it comes short from the book.
The story is a beautiful analysis of good versus evil inside oneself. The deterioration of the portrait as the human soul deteriorates with each sinful act is a pretty good account of reality, of the scars that each mistake leaves. It certainly brings the message home that be careful at how far you push your limits, for you will always have to pay for them in the end....
P.S. For those who want to see the movie online, you can view it here