The Portrait of Dorian Gray

The Portrait of Dorian Gray

The Portrait of Dorian Gray

Adapted from Oscar Wilde’s famous novel (1854-1900), Oliver Parker’s Portrait of Dorian Gray is a modern adaptation of one of the writer’s greatest achievements. With hedonism, youthfulness, hypocrisy and vanity as its central themes, this film attempts to reproduce the story of Irish dandy Oscar Wilde as accurately as possible. A rather successful film, with actors who are simply impeccable!

Summary of the Portrait of Dorian Gray

A Young Man makes a pact with the devil…

Dorian Gray, a handsome young man, decides to pose for his painter friend to do his portrait. Very vain, and obsessed with his own image, Gray is then fascinated by the result of the painting: so much so, that he feels an irrational jealousy for the representation of himself.

And then he meets Lord Henry. Lord Henry introduces him to hedonism, vanity and the culture of youth. Gray soon embraced his theories and wished he would never grow old: “If the picture could change while I remained what I am! “.

His wish comes true: Gray retains her beauty and youthfulness, while the painting shows a character who ages in her place throughout her life. But Gray multiplies his crimes and sins and provokes the suicide of his future wife, murders his painter friend, and lives in fear that his secret will be discovered. His painting then gradually changes, depicting an abject, conceited, and monstrous being, with gnawed and bloody skin…

After several years of living in turmoil, Dorian Gray finally turned against the painting and stuck a knife in the canvas… He then dies as a hideous old man, while the painting, as for him, has regained its original aspect…

Our Opinion

A film about human darkness…

Hard to tackle such a literary mastodon as the Portrait of Dorian Gray! Already taken up many times in the past by the cinema, Wilde’s story had ended up losing all its flavour and bite, distorted by a sometimes too smooth and Hollywood-like cinema …

But let us reassure ourselves: Oliver Parker is doing rather well under the circumstances. His film reflects Wilde’s central themes as accurately as possible, and thus focuses his story on the duality of the human soul, its perversions and contradictions. Man is here corrupted by his constant search for pleasure, beauty and youth with only one obsession in mind: to conceal his true nature from the eyes of others.

Thus, Dorian Gray becomes a monster without ugliness, whose traces of these perversions are preciously hidden under the features of a living painting. Gray hides not only from others, but also from himself, trying to flee from his own reality and his own actions… causing him to self-destruct.

Special praise goes to Colin Firth’s convincing play and to Ben Barnes, who plays a remarkable Dorian Gray.

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