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Oscars: The King’s Speech

January 14, 2011 By: nooccar Category: Movies, Reviews

It’s back. Oscar Season.

Well, if you know anything about time, you know this time of the year is when I force myself to see as many Oscar worthy films as possible. I tend to review each one I see; this works better once the nominees are announced but if I wait, I’m dead. See I got a fam, too. A wife. A kid (too young to go with me!). I got myself a honey-do list, too. There’s always a few I’ve already seen pre-Christmas that I tend to not revisit here on the ole review blog (although I got a surprise from you, my dear reader, later. Can ya wait?), and there are always some I see early that don’t make the cut. Let’s hope this first one up made the cut.

King’s Speech. See, I could’ve seen like four different films today and would’ve gone with Blue Valentine (not sure if I can deal with Gosling again, but that Williams is a dream) if it were out. It’s not. So I let my friend Liza pick, and her mum’d seen The King’s Speech recently and can’t stop raving. So there I was. Sitting in a theatre with mostly people older than me, and a few idiots (who I heard after the film saying “who’s Winston Churchill?”).

My closest relationship to modern British Monarch knowledge is my cousin’s obsession with Diana and my viewing (and my review) of 2006’s The Queen with Helen Mirren. My knowledge of WWII is a bit better and I appreciate the historical implication on today’s world more than many of my friends, but beyond that I went into this film naked.

Colin Firth is like Tom Hanks for me, which means that people think he’s talented and I mostly don’t get it. As for Geoffrey Rush, I dig the man. Then there’s Helena Bonham Carter as (Queen) Elizabeth.

The film details King George VI’s ascension to the throne through Britain’s declaration of war on Hitler’s Germany. George (known to his family and friend, and throughout the film, as “Bertie”, as in Prince Albert, Duke of York) was known by his stammer, which frightened him to no end since his brother, David (Edward VIII) wasn’t necessarily the kingly type (played well by Guy Pearce).

Many speech therapists have tried to help Bertie and all’ve failed. Elizabeth (who in a very fun scene with Rush’s wife calls herself “Liz”) patiently searches for people to help her husband reach his potential. She finds Lionel Logue, a speech therapist , with his unorthodox methods (including forcing Bertie to meet in his offices and calling him Bertie in the first place).

The film itself is (even without knowledge of British history) relatively straightforward. It’s the challenge-meet the sage-fight lots with him-realize he’s right-become awesome-make wife and kids proud-save the world-and life happily that you expect. But with Rush and Firth at the helm, it works. And works well. Firth’s performance as this frustrating, stammering man who realizes the future and his own courage, would steal the scene, if he weren’t surrounded by two other of the most talented actors of his age: Rush & Carter.

Together, this trifecta makes the King’s Speech a two hour journey through a well-developed, emotional journey of a modern monarch. Throw in a subtle yet awesomely played Churchill, and Princess Margaret and (the future famous Queen) Elizabeth II playing at the ankles of the Third & Monarch of the House of Windsor, their father.

Firth’s performance is seamless. Carter’s future is that of Helen Mirren & Maggie Smith’s, while Rush continues the wonderfully eccentric performance, like his Phillip Henslowe. See this one. Bring a friend and pee first.

Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter - The King's Speech
Firth & Carter in The King’s Speech


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