The King's Speech Reviews
Personally, I think the world really needs a movie like "The King's Speech". These days people seem to think that throwing your emotions over a water fall is the only way a film can be considered excellent. People seem to focus on the events surrounding the characters rather than the actual development of the characters. "The King's Speech" changes that. You may think that there isn't enough story to be put into a film about a guy's speech impediment, but the story isn't really whats important to the film. It's the characters that really make the film. Everything in the film is focused on bring the development of each character up a level. Rather than story being a series of events that distract from character, they are things that become parts of the characters and make them even more interesting. And these events aren't extremely stressful, they are actually interesting, something a few movies out now could learn a thing or to about being. But what really makes these characters interesting are the actors behind them. Everyone is talking about Collin Firth's Academy Award winning performance as King George the VI, but I think that Geoffrey Rush's role as Lionel Logue was just as good and maybe even better. he did a perfect job at portraying a regular everyday guy. The character wasn't anything special, but like every person he has his own special qualities. He also really brought out the interesting relationship between King George and Lionel. It made us ask questions about equality down to it's essence and what it really means to people. And of course, he was hilarious. At least 50% of the funniest lines in that movie came from Rush. He has fantastic comedic timing, but in a realistic sort of way that you usually don't find in comedies. It made the film generally interesting and pleasant to watch. Of course, Rush wasn't the only fantastic actor, the entire cast (which has 3 actors from Harry Potter in it, I might add) did a great job with the film. The only one I could think of being a problem was the guy who played Peter Petegrew in Harry Potter playing Churchill. He really overplayed the role, which somewhat surprised me because I didn't think that Churchill was a role you could overplay. But apparently you can. Still though, it hardly went noticed with the perfect formulation of the movie. Another thing I think should be noticed is the use of music in the film. In the final scene when they had the classical music playing, I found myself moving my hands like a conductor with the flow of it. The scene was like a waltz, except with words rather than feet. It is truly a fantastic film.
I have heard people say that the film was a suck up for the Oscars. It was a period piece with British actors and based on historical events. But you know what, I don't care. I enjoyed it and thats all that really matters in the end. If you haven't seen it yet, then make sure to if you enjoy having a genuinely pleasant good time.
An immediate stand out is the sublime, perfect cinematography and editing. There's plenty of AAA movies coming out nowadays that manages to pull off breathtakingly shot scenes 70% of the time, but I dare to say that "The King's Speech" has the same high quality 99% of the film's length. Amazing. How did "Inception" win best cinematography, I do not know... but I know "The King's Speech" deserved it in every way. Other stand out achievements include the terrific acting of Colin Firth's character, George VI as one who has a speech impediment, the rich, intricate screenplay, and a narrative that's so alluring that even though the audience may understand what will transpire within the plotline, they can't help but to be sensitive to the characters' developments.
"The King's Speech" is a success in every way. It may be a little too Hollywood for some folks, but this is a Hollywood film reaching the highest caliber of blockbuster filmmaking with tip-top, best-of-the-best ensemble attributes.
What prevails here is the sure hand of director Tom Hooper and the top notch acting of not just the main actors, but all the supporting cast as well. The gist of the story, in case you've been in a coma the past year, is that the Duke of York (2nd in line to the Brit throne, behind his brother the Prince of Wales), stutters. He has tried everything, at the encouragement of his loving wife (Helena Bonham-Carter), and just about everyone else - all to no avail. But then, just when the Duke resigned himself to his malady, Carter discovers a speech therapist with unconventional methods (a wonderful performance by Geoffrey Rush). What follows is a study of individuals with a lens on the class higharchy. Colin Firth as the Duke, expects a degree of decorum, which is the first thing Rush wants to tear down, stating "in this room we are equals".
Really, the synopsis doesn't do the film justice; for every nuance is simply perfect and you end up rooting for both characters (whose goal is the same). There are all kinds of pertinent bits of history thrown in (including a tour de force performance by Timothy Spall as Churchill), as well as a dash of Rasputinism that is rebuffed by Firth stating that Rush has overstepped his bounds.
The film really isn't a drama per se, as you certainly expect the end result, and yet it is more than a period piece and character study (as the characters don't really grow or change - just form a bond).
I guess the best way to illuminate why the film was Oscar worthy comes from a simple statement made early on by the Duke: "as I passed the commoners in the street, I realized that I had no insight into their lives... just as they have none into my own". Indeed; and I suppose that the insight into the lives of royalty is part of the allure of the film, though certainly not its sole point of interest.
In reflection, I am struck by the idea that the story is really an old concept, and in lesser hands could have been a bit of history/biographical sludge. That it rises above the mire is indeed a testimonial to all players involved, although I have a lingering thought that perhaps the gravity of the speech itself was somewhat overplayed - though I wasn't there and certainly don't have a finger on the collective psyche of the Brit populace circa 1940.
Watching this film, it is clear that Tom Hooper wants to stress the themes of courage, self respect, and power to overcome problems to an extreme amount. With this film, each of those themes is somehow present in one way or another. To be honest, it is a little tiresome, but appropriate for this film regardless. The other thing about the direction I liked was how he was able to make the character of King George VI (or Bertie as he is called in the film) more real and less like the idea of a king. When we think of kings, we think of them as powerful, huge, fearsome men that at any moment could have you killed. Here, Hooper as the king be played as a troubled, scared man who is just trying to deal with his life at hand. So, does he do a great job? No. But, for this film and what it needed, he done a rather exceptional job. The only other thing that stood out would have to be the influence of Stanley Kubrick that was used in numerous scenes. If you were to look at Kubrick's film 'Barry Lyndon', then look at this film, then other than the fact that these are both period pieces, the attention to detail in every scene plus camera movements are very reminiscent.
In 2011's Academy Awards, Colin Firth won the award for Best Actor in a Film. Now, I have a love hate relationship with Firth. He has been in some decent films and some horrible pieces of crap that I try to forget. Here, I am shocked at the dedication he puts into his performance. Everything from how he speaks to his reactions are outstanding to behold. But the thing that makes this performance even more memorable is how much of himself he puts into this character. Now, I am on the edge if he should have won his award for this film, but out of respect for him due to his performance, I am just going to say that this was an award well earned. The other actor I need to mention would have to be Helena Bonham Carter as Firth's wife in this film. Think back to every film Carter has been in. If you do, you will notice that she usually portrays dark, villainous, and typically psychotic female antagonists or antiheroes. Here, she plays a character that is almost the complete opposite of that. Here she plays her character to be carrying, sympathetic, and above all else, filled with love. Seeing her in this role shows me more of her talent then any film by Tim Burton or any of the Harry Potter films can show me. She is truly a good actress and worthy of her nomination for Best Actress (lost out to Natalie Portman for Black Swan).
The rest of this cast is wonderful. Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall, they all do their roles with justice and power. Plus, how they delivered the dialogue for this film is a step up from your more recent period drama. Looking back on these costume dramas, the actors usually put on a fake accent, suck in a bunch of air, and then talk without knowing the full extent of what they are saying. Here, I love the acting because they show that they have an understanding of what is going on, the level of severity of the circumstances,
For the rest of this film, I will say that from the soundtrack to the script, this is a film that knew it had an important message to tell and that the royal family would not be pleased if a mockery was to have been made on this piece of cinema. What is the message of this film? Believe in yourself and you will overcome any and all problems you have. They may not be gone, but they can be overpowered to an extent. This is a wonderful film and one that should be required viewing in speech classes due to what is shown in this film. So, closing this review, in the words of the DVD/ Blu-Ray trailer: All Hail The King!