Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 25
  2. Negative: 1 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Shines like a freshly minted coin in Oliver Parker's adaptation.
  2. It's a movie of uncommon eloquence and elegance, acted by a truly gifted cast.
  3. Makes the translation with all its wit, incisive dialogue and eccentric characters intact, and then some.
  4. 80
    It all seems calculated to churn up excitement, a promise that there's lots of dazzle, glamour and intrigue to come. An Ideal Husband actually does deliver all those things, but mostly in a pleasurably understated way -- no need for the noisy signals.
  5. 80
    It still sounds pretty fresh: politicians scratching backs, loose ladies threatening to talk, careers balanced tremulously on the line
  6. 80
    The political, social, and linguistic adjustments Parker makes to this hugely entertaining Husband give it fresh relevance without betraying the original.
  7. Parker has shaped the play to make it more film-friendly and relevant, but he has done so with such subtlety you would have to be a Wilde authority even to notice.
  8. Parker stays with and even streamlines Wilde's clever manipulations of betrayals and lies and plots and counterplots. Yet the film never feels stagy.
  9. 80
    What shakes the dust off this period piece is the vibrant acting.
  10. 75
    The two leading men, Northam and Everett, are smooth and charming.
  11. The only problem I was faced with was trying to understand what exactly it was that I enjoyed, and how this movie differed from the play I'd read.
  12. We are amused. We are not sputtering into our teacups, but we are chortling lightly.
  13. Life at the top has rarely looked or sounded more fabulously elegant.
  14. 70
    It's lavish, clever entertainment, a welcome opportunity to laugh without shame.
  15. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    The film version of this civilized beauty, captures the amusing gloss of the story but not the sense that something grave is going on beneath it all.
  16. Reviewed by: Ron Wells
    The film is not without its problems, some inherent to Wilde's original play.
  17. 70
    His film is hardly memorable, but it's amusing enough for two hours, and it never panders or cloys.
  18. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    The movie is diverting enough -- it's good fun -- but much of the genius is gone with the wind.
  19. Our familiarity with the actors, and their comfort in this period setting, lend the piece an unexpected air of naturalism.
  20. Reviewed by: Andrea C. Basora
    Beautifully appointed, fairly bursting with splendid sets and divine costumes, but it ultimately fails to capture the essence of Wilde's airy wit.
  21. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    An ideal play is degraded into an indolent film
  22. Director- writer Oliver Parker saps much of the juice from Wilde, slows the pace and directs his actors in an inappropriately naturalistic style.
  23. Leans so heavily on its stars that their performances are marred by their emptiness.
  24. Reviewed by: Hollis Chacona
    This big-screen version of Wilde's stylish match of deceit and honor, loyalty and betrayal, is more parry than thrust.
  25. 20
    Parker has boiled An Ideal Husband into a thuddingly unimaginative costume drama laden with frocks, riding crops, servile butlers and very good actors desperately treading water.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. DickM.
    Feb 11, 2006
    I had never heard of this film even though I am a movie nut but I recorded it because I found Julianne Moore's name in the cast. I am I had never heard of this film even though I am a movie nut but I recorded it because I found Julianne Moore's name in the cast. I am still congratulating me on my instincts or my good luck. It was great fun all the way. Leave it to the Brits. Full Review »