Retelling, Reliving

Fiction as Biography in The Happy Prince (2018)


  • Amanda Farage Independent Scholar



autobiography, biofiction, Rupert Everett, fairytale, film, ‘The Happy Prince’ (1888), The Happy Prince (2018), neo-Victorian adaptation, Oscar Wilde


Rupert Everett’s The Happy Prince (2018) is a neo-Victorian biofictional film that depicts Oscar Wilde’s final years in exile within the narrative framework of his 1888 children’s story of the same name. In the film, Wilde (portrayed by Everett) recounts excerpts from the story both as a narrator and onscreen character, which facilitates narrative time jumps from his deathbed to earlier points in his life, and illuminates different aspects of the author by comparing him to various characters from the fairytale. With a desire to invite viewers to relate to Oscar the man, rather than Wilde the icon, Everett fashions a rendering of the author that is intensely personal and based upon his own connection with this famous figure. This filmic biofiction is thus a curious blend of fiction and reality, literary work and life experience.