Oscar Wilde's quintessential comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest, gets its first cinematic treatment in decades when direct Oliver Parker releases his new star-studded version of the comedy of manners on May 22. The movie features the talents of Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Frances O'Connor, Reese Witherspoon, Dame Judi Dench and Tom Wilkinson. Dench plays the work's most famous role, the imperious and absurd arbiter of Victorian mores, Lady Bracknell. Firth plays Jack Worthing, the society gent who uses his fictional ne'er-do-well brother Earnest as an excuse to escape into London whenever he feels. Everett plays Algernon Moncrieff, who adopts Earnest's persona in order to pay a call on Worthing's country estate and meet his pretty ward, Cecily (Witherspoon). Complications ensue when Jack arrives—after Algernon's appearance—to mourn the death of dear Earnest.
O'Connor plays Gwendolyn, Wilkinson is Dr. Chasuble, and Anne Massey is Ms. Prism.
A famous 1952 film of the play starred Michael Redgrave as Jack, Michael Denison as Algernon and Edith Evans as Lady Bracknell.