The King’s Speech

Posted: February 1, 2011 by aoifewantonmovielover in Film
Tags: , , , , ,

In a nutshell: A right royal affair makes a bid for b…b…b…brilliance. Like a prelude to Wills and Kate’s wedding, but without the day off.

Popcorn rating: 4/5

Hollywood loves a bit of royalty. Whether it’s Helen Mirren’s buttoned up take on Lizzie 2, Judi Dench in a scandalously blink-and-you’ll-miss-her ham fest in Shakespeare in Love, or, well, take your pick of the many Henrys and Richards that have been immortalised in film, the US seems to look with yearning at the archaic institution.

This particular Royal – King George VI – has struck a particular nerve, bringing home the gold from the box office and vacuuming up awards all over the place (which depending on your opinion of awards ceremonies is going to either make you want to see this or downright refuse to). The King’s Speech is the human face of the monarchy and one with a very common condition.

There is a lot going on in The King’s Speech: a country in a post war depression on the verge of another major conflict, a king on the brink of death and another one about to abdicate with the Duke of York waiting in the wings, pathologically afraid of the inevitable microphone thrust in his face.

However, The Damned United’s Tom Hooper, aided by a concise and considered script by David Seidler, manages to tie all this together neatly, while placing the focus on the unlikely friendship between Colin Firth’s future king and Geoffrey Rush’s genial therapist.

Both actors are magnificent, fully deserving of awards recognition. Firth (tuxedo surely primed for the Kodak theatre) is the star turn of course. A man struggling to meet his duties with a hot temper but a warm heart, under his overbearing father and his caddish but charming brother (Guy Pearce) as the heir apparent. Rush, is the less flashy turn as the patient and affable Aussie and the film hinges on their chemistry, resulting in a tight two-hander.

They are ably supported by a litany of talent, including Helena Bonham Carter and Michael Gambon, but Timothy Spall’s almost comic Winston Churchill cameo is distracting at best as the one bum note.

As a period drama, The King’s Speech is flawless, with perfect costumes, props and even the genesis of the BBC and, much as it is moving, it’s also funny, as Rush’s Logue breaks down “Bertie’s” stiff upper lip for some genuine laughs and a heart-warming triumph over adversity. Dust off your mantelpieces peasants – the Oscars are coming.

Reviewer: Aoifewantonmovielover

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