The King’s Sp-p-p-peech

The King’s Sp-p-p-peech

May 23, 2011
4 Comments

2010 was a good year for Hollywood. There was “Black Swan”, order “Social Network”, advice “Inception” and many more exceptional films. But one stood out head and shoulders above the rest. For only one can be crowned Best Picture at the Oscar’s and only one actor can be deemed Best Actor at the Golden Globe’s. The King’s Speech took both those honours and many more. In fact, surgeon the Academy gave this film 12 nominations and 4 awards (the most coveted ones, at that). So, as it has recently processioned it’s way into the DVD market, I felt it fit (for a king) to review this, the most celebrated of last year’s films.

Based on the very true, historical account of Prince Albert (Colin Firth), The King’s Speech centers around his rise to the throne while struggling with a profound stammer. The prince has spent his whole life haunted by an incredibly debilitating speech impediment. That is until he meets Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), a renowned speech therapist. As the royal home is going through upheaval, it appears as though Prince Albert will soon be given the role of King of England. But his inability to speak publicly deeply troubles him and those around him. So, the unconventional Lionel Logue works persistently with Albert to help remedy his stutter. Prince Albert’s wife (Helena Bonham Carter) journeys alongside with love and confidence.

This historical account could have very easily slipped into the usual conventions of period pieces and it would have come and gone unnoticed. But skilled director, Tom Hooper, with the help of David Seidler’s wonderful screenplay, crafts an entirely unique movie experience. Of course, there are the usual set pieces, costuming, etc…that accurately reflect the opulent royal lifestyle. But the artistic merit of The King’s Speech runs far deeper than that. Every shot is a masterpiece of beauty, evoking emotion and thought. Seriously. You could take most any frame from the film and hang it on your wall as a piece of art. The same goes for the performances. Each actor brings a spirit to their role that breathes life into otherwise rote characters. Most notably, Colin Firth is extraordinary. Here’s an actor that could have been easily dismissed as a fluff player until his last few films. And his portrayal of King George VI has deservedly elevated him to the ranks of this generation’s greatest actors. We experience the leader’s great courage, frustration and love for family as Firth delivers a profoundly deep performance.

The King’s Speech is perfectly balanced; historical, humorous, dramatic, profound and joyous all at the same time. It is deeply moving while being completely entertaining. Few films can boast such an accomplishment. While there are some great movies to watch these days, I am confident that The King’s Speech has been rightfully placed upon cinema’s throne.


About the Author

Craig the Critic

Comments:

  1. Recently, I was given a copy of George VI by Sarah Bradford by Craig’s younger brother. In spite of the suspicion that the publishers are sliding into The King’s Speech spotlight with a re-issue of this 1989 book, I find it utterly fascinating. If you want to be “a fly on the wall” at the royal House of Windsor into which dear “Bertie” was born, this is an informative read. Thankfully, George VI’s brother, Edward, abdicated and ended the line of buffoonery rampant in the “seed” of Albert and Victoria. The man honoured in The King’s Speech truly turned the tide of the British monarchy, if the not the whole world. History can be startling, when least expected.

  2. I thought this was a well-acted and very inspirational film, but when it came to winning the Best Picture Oscar over The Social Network, I didn’t think so. However, good film, and good review!

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree Social Network was amazing. And it did win Best Pic at the Golden Globes. But the artistry and magic of The King’s Speech definitely earned it top honors at the Oscars.

Leave a Reply