The last line ("I've now realized for the first time in my life the vital importance of being earnest") takes on an interesting spin if we know that "earnest" was a vernacular term for "gay" in 1895.
Judi Dench keeps a stern eye on the would-be lovers, and a strong hand on the tiller.
"The Importance of Being Earnest" is above all an exercise in wit.
The importance of being earnest.
The Importance of Being Earnest was director Oliver Parker's second film adaptation of an Oscar Wilde comedy; he previously helmed An Ideal Husband, which also starred Rupert Everett.