Last week, I read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I can’t believe I had never read this before! I enjoyed it immensely. Wilde’s dark story about the lengths people are willing to go to in order to retain their youth and beauty seems to me more relevant than ever. Seriously. Botox, plastic surgery, diet fads, all the products and expensive treatments we use in order to retain our youthfulness and beauty. Think about how we measure our youth and beauty by the standards set by magazines and print advertising- almost all of which are airbrushed and impossible. And yet, we strive for it. We hunger for it. How many do you know who would trade their souls in order to be young and beautiful forever as Dorian did? How many people would jump at the chance for all of the signs of their hedonism to be put into a portrait rather than their faces? I can think of a few…..
It takes a truly brilliant writer to produce a novel that is just as relevant (if not more so) today than it was when it was first written 121 years earlier. Impressive to say the least. This story was enthralling- I couldn’t put it down once I started it. When reading, I was rushing towards an inevitable conclusion that was horrifying but I couldn’t stop myself, didn’t want to stop myself, from getting there. If you haven’t read this, please do. It’s a marvelous piece of literature.
As it so happens- “Dorian Gray” starring Ben Barnes and Colin Firth was next in my Netflix queue this week. I had completely forgotten it was in my queue at all. I love life’s little coincidences. So, it just seemed kismet that I should write about the movie as well as the book this week.
First things first- the movie takes some liberties with the book. Usually, I HATE that. In this case, however, I actually found the added elements interesting and enjoyable. The acting was fantastic- of course Colin Firth never disappoints but I also really liked Ben Barnes version of Dorian. I think they made Dorian seem like a better person in the movie than he really was in the book. At least his conscience, what little of it that remained, was more apparent in the movie. And his last stand with the portrait is certainly more dramatic and heart-wrenching. Personally, I prefer the way the book ends which is more of a whimper and less of a boom (in the movie there literally an explosion). Throughout the movie the background music was like that of a horror movie- and I’m not saying it’s not horrific- but it didn’t need the added spookiness of the music, it was just a little too much. Luckily, with the exception of the soundtrack, most of this movie was spot-on. The scenery, the costumes, and again, the was acting fantastic. All in all, I quite enjoyed the movie. Although, I can’t say I loved it as much as I loved the book. But that’s how it’s supposed to be isn’t it?