Best Movies by Farr
Prick Up Your Ears Poster
Released Runtime Category
1987 110 Drama
Director Language
Stephen Frears English
Gary Oldman, Vanessa Redgrave, Alfred Molina, Julie Walters, Wallace Shawn

Prick Up Your Ears

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What's it About

In the1950s, budding playwright Joe Orton (Oldman), meets the older Kenneth Halliwell (Molina) at a prestigious London drama school. Halliwell brings sophistication to the uneducated Orton, and he in turn introduces Halliwell to the excitement of furtive homosexual encounters.  They move in together despite the prevailing mores of the times. A few years later, the highly successful Orton is represented by noted literary agent Peggy Ramsay (Redgrave), while enjoying a swinging, sexually adventurous lifestyle. Feeling left behind, Halliwell struggles with depression and grows to resent his lover and former protégé.

Why we love it

Beyond Oldman’s striking physical resemblance to Orton, his skill in capturing Orton’s impish sense of humor and wicked insouciance makes the character come fully alive on screen. Molina is Oldman’s perfect counterweight with his increasingly fraught portrayal of the scorned Halliwell. Working off a superb screenplay by playwright Alan Bennett, Frears tells the story through flashbacks as Orton’s biographer, John Lahr (Shawn) interviews Orton’s friends and family. Watch out for a vivid glimpse of Orton’s mother, played by the wonderful Walters.  Bennett’s script captures the wit and schoolboy appeal of Orton, but also illuminates his crueler side. By the time the film ends, Halliwell’s actions, though unpardonable, are easier to comprehend.

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BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"