Movie: The King’s Speech (2010)

Posted 28 February, 2011 by Lianne in Entertainment / 0 Comments

It’s been a very long time since I’ve done a movie review so I thought it was fitting to do one now (especially considering that this movie just won Best Picture for 2010). Apologies in advance for some of the awkward sentences, I am editing my thesis at the same time, lol.

Tells the story of the man who became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George (‘Bertie’) reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stammer and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue. Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country through war.

This movie has been in my radar since I first heard that Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter would be starring in this. Took forever but I finally got around to watching it =) Spoilers ahead!

As always, I seem to begin a lot of my reviews with “Where to start?” Visually, this film is just amazing, from the palace setting to the streets of London in the fog, you feel as though you are in 1930s England. There’s a sense of mystery to it and it’s quite artistic. Camera-wise, I like the way the movie was shot overall, how the subjects were always off-centre to show their surroundings; it’s like when I make icons or avatars and the subject is always off-centre in the image. Sometimes subjects were even part of their surroundings. In fact, a lot of the rooms that the characters stood in for their scenes and when engaging with each otehr were almost bare; the sparceness of Lionel’s office for example really brings the audience’s focus to the two men in the room. It’s visually artistic and appealing but at the same time it really draws the audience’s attention to the actors.

Which brings me to the actors. Because the set design was not overpowering to the eyes, you really get to focus more on their performances and this worked as an advantage to the actors because they were phenomenal. Colin Firth gave a beyond stellar performance of George VI and is worthy of all the accolades he has received for the role. He really conveyed his character’s reluctance and fear of becoming king with all the trappings and, most of all, the visibility. Coupled with his frustration with public speaking and the stammer, it’s a powerful performance and you’re really with him in his frustration to express himself and deal with the sudden changes around him. The emotion in his eyes (I could’ve sworn he was going to tear up at any moment in Lionel’s office as he struggled to articulate himself) and the way he struggles to form words from his throat to his mouth…I can totally see what Colin Firth meant when he said that someone told him stammering was like drowning in a way. His moments where he talked about his family and his breakdown in his study were especially moving.

His interaction with the other actors in this movie were also fantastic to watch. Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue played the slightly eccentric, encouraging speech therapist perfectly. I was sad that he did not win for Best Supporting because he certainly portrayed his character in a subtle manner; where Firth’s George VI was frustrated and tempermental, Rush’s Logue was patient and encouraging, truly the man behind the king. Helena Bonham Carter was wonderful as Queen Elizabeth; the delivery of her lines were witty and she really plays the regal role quite wonderfully. Personally, I enjoyed the scene in the car as they were headed to see King Edward VIII out in the country and she was telling Bertie how Wallis Simpson called her the fat Scottish cook. She played the indignant in a very controlled and regal manner, which was wonderful. Guy Pearce was also amazing as Bertie’s brother, the king who abdicated. I wish we had more scenes between Pearce and Firth because it was just so intriguing to watch the brother dynamic unfold on screen. I especially love the scene where Rush, Firth, Carter and Jennifer Ehle are in Logue’s dining room—it was subtle yet comedic and I love that Firth and Ehle were once again reunited in the same screen, even if it was for a moment.

The movie overall was wonderfully paced, the script was fantastic (yay that it won Best Original Screenplay. While I thought Inception was also a wonderful and tight script and plot, the love and time that Seidler put into this script really deserved it), the soundtrack was gorgeous (Alexander Desplat never fails to deliver such wonderful music to go along the movie—I was going for either him or Hans Zimmer for that category), the sets and cinematography were just aesthetically wonderful and the cast was solid. I truly enjoyed the movie, right down to the emotional core of a man struggling to find his voice, overcome his fears and lead his nation through hard times.

Rating: ★★★★★

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