Show, don’t Tell: the Representation of Homoeroticism in the Movie Dorian Gray

Maja Petek | October 8, 2018
What comes to mind when hearing about Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)? It is probably not the flowery language or witty social commentary, but the homoeroticism present throughout the novel, especially in the portrayal of the friendship between male characters. The implicit homoeroticism of the novel was greatly augmented in the latest reincarnation of the story, the movie Dorian Gray (2009). Directed by Oliver Parker and starring Colin Firth as Lord Henry and Ben Barnes as Dorian, the movie failed to attract a lasting audience, despite adapting Wilde’s subtlety to the modern audience’s demands for sensation. Despite the unfiltered portrayal of sexual exploits, the emotional connection between the characters, especially between the painter Basil Hallward (Ben Chaplin) and Dorian Gray, which builds the backbone of the story, is never addressed.  

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