Review: The King's Speech
PLOT: The true story of King George the Sixth (Colin Firth), who, after the abdication of his brother, was forced to take the throne, on the eve of Britain's entry into the Second World War. This film tells how the King, who suffered from a debilitating stammer and lack of confidence, was inspired through the friendship of an eccentric, Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush).
REVIEW: Colin Firth will win best actor at the Oscars this year. It's all but inevitable now, as THE KING'S SPEECH is exactly the type of film Oscar voters eat up each and every year. It's got all the bases covered. It's a true story, it's inspiring, it features a top notch (English) cast. Heck, it's even got Harvey Weinstein producing, which I suppose is the real ace up it's sleeve, as this will surely draw comparisons to the man's earlier Oscar hit, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. The only difference is that, unlike SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, CHICAGO, or (god forbid) NINE, THE KING'S SPEECH is actually worthy of all the praise it's sure to get.
It's an absolutely wonderful film, and one that should catch on like wildfire once it hits theatres. While one might not assume an English period drama to be a sure thing with audiences these days, I have a feeling they'll turn out in droves once the word of mouth starts to get out about this one. There's a reason that the reviews have been so effusive out of Telluride, and they'll likely be just as good coming out of TIFF.
Even if you're not a fan of the British period type of film, you'll still likely enjoy THE KING'S SPEECH. Essentially, it`s a bromance, and a highly touching one at that. In fact, one might say this is the CASABLANCA of bromances, comparable to bromantic classics like LETHAL WEAPON, and BRIAN`S SONG. King George, and the Rush`s Lionel Logue run through all the bromantic clichés. There`s the meet-cute, arranged by Edward`s kindly, commoner wife (Helena Bonham Carter, who`ll likely cop a best supporting actress nom of her own). There`s the initial hostility between the regal, uptight Edward, and the blokish Lowe. And then of course, there`s the gradual deepening of the friendship, to the point that there won`t be a dry eye in the house toward the end as everyone will no doubt be thinking of their own best friend by the time this is over.
It`s an incredibly moving film, anchored by a performance from Firth that might be his best ever, even more so that his striking role in last years` (Weinstein distributed) A SINGLE MAN. This is Firth unlike you've ever seen him, and his vulnerability will have you forget that he`s playing a king, which is a good thing, and makes him incredibly personable.
Rush has the less showy role, as Lowe, but he`s also phenomenal (and, once again, sure to get a best supporting actor nomination), and intensely likable. The chemistry between Rush and Firth is perfection, and you'll truly believe that, by the time the credits roll, these two love each other in the way only best friends can. The supporting cast is also tip-top, led by Guy Pearce as the selfish, playboy King Edward VIII, who, in addition to his shockingly laissez-faire attitude toward Hitler in the days leading up to WWII, was unwilling to give up a fling with an American social climber in order to keep the throne. Imagine Prince William suddenly being crowned King, but then deciding to marry Paris Hilton, and you have an idea of how shocking this was to the Brits back in the day.
THE KING`S SPEECH is also a slam dunk for director Tom Hooper, who previously directed the underrated THE DAMNED UNITED. Unlike a lot of other directors that specialize in this type of film, his style never makes the film seem stuffy, and- running slightly under two hours, he`s also perfectly paced the film so that it never wears out it`s welcome. It`s a masterful job, as he knows when to thrown in a clever joke or two (with a funny in hindsight scene of the king being encouraged to smoke), while never having the film comes off as too much of a lark.
I really enjoyed THE KING`S SPEECH, and it not AT LEAST being nominated for a whole slew of Oscars seems unfathomable. As for Firth, place your bets nice and early, as you heard it here first.
“And the winner is...”