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An Ideal husband
SUBJECTS — Drama/England; World/England;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Marriage; Families in Crisis;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Trustworthiness; Responsibility.
Age: 12+; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Comedy; 1999; 97 minutes; Color.
This film is an adaptation of Oscar Wilde's comedy of manners about friends, spouses, a stock swindle, blackmail, and a rising young politician in England in the late 19th century. The movie contains several positive moral messages about friendship, honesty, and marital relations. It also presents one important moral dilemma that will be of interest to children. The movie is very accessible to ages 12 and up.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to An Ideal Husband offers background and discussion questions that will help teachers introduce the artistry of Oscar Wilde and "upper crust" English society at the turn of the 20th century. The Guide assists in confirming the positive ethical messages of the film and in posing the question of whether someone who acted unethically in the past can be trusted with high political office.
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An Ideal Husband isn't ideal for showing children the wit of Oscar Wilde. (See The Importance of Being Earnest for that.) But it's a great story, nonetheless.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve lesson plans, we have set out below a set of discussion questions from the Learning Guide to An Ideal husband.
We are told in this film that the Chiltern character has changed and will not act corruptly in the future. In real life, can we make that assumption about a person whose ambition is so strong that at one time it overwhelmed his moral sense? Or do you agree with Lady Gertrude's comment early in the film that "a person who has once been guilty of a dishonest and dishonorable action may be guilty of it a second time, and should be shunned"? Lady Gertrude later abandons this position. Which do you agree with? Why? Does Chiltern's relative youth when he succumbed to temptation make a difference in your answer? If you would forgive him because of his age, at what age would you stop forgiving him?
The Learning Guide to the film An Ideal husband contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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