Thursday, April 7, 2011

The King’s Speech (2010)

The King’s Speech blasted into theaters amid so much praise that it begged the question—is it deserved?

King's SpeechThe King’s Speech tells the story of King George VI (Colin Firth) of Britain’s sudden rise to the throne and his relationship with a speech therapist who helps him with his stammering. George has consulted every renowned specialist and their cornucopia of treatments to no avail. One day, Queen Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) makes her way to the consultation office of Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Despite the shabby and sparsely decorated office, the confident Logue makes an impression and soon the Queen is there with the King.

The acting is impressive and the character development is rich and nuanced. Firth is believable as a stammerer. Rush is delightful as his speech therapist; I relished each moment of his screen time. So much so that when Christian Bale won the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, I was offended. (Then, I saw The Fighter and understood why it had to go to Bale—not that Rush wasn’t still da bomb, but if you saw The Fighter and Bale’s performance, you know).

Beyond the talent, the story is magnetic and has comedic moments. You have a man who’s stammered since he was a boy. His powerful father who tries to bully him out of stammering. His brother, the ascendant to the throne who wants no part of it. The hesitant man taking over the throne when a war is brewing. The wife who supports her husband through his suffering and believes the stammer can be cured. While supportive, she also challenges him. It’s refreshing to see a strong female royal, wherein you they’re typically depicted as ceding to their more powerful husband or boyfriend.

It must be stated that the the trust that develops between King George and Logue is bromantic napalm. When it ended, I wanted to see it again. The plot moves toward its climatic ending and, when you get there, you know there’s no other way it can end.

Director: Tom Hooper

Country: USA/UK

Genre: Drama

Run time: 118 minutes

Scale: 4.5

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