Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The King's Speech

This is an impressive film, I have to say I am a sucker for this kind of period films with a great cast and elegant acting, I think the acting in this movie is simply perfection. "The King's Speech" tells the story of the man who would become King George VI, the father of the current Queen, Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George 'Bertie' VI (Colin Firth) reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded nervous stammer and considered unfit to be King, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). 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 into war.

The friendship that painstakingly evolves is between Prince Albert, Duke of York and Lionel Logue, a frustrated Austalian actor turned highly unorthodox speech therapist. Albert, who has a dreadful stammer, has failed all previous medical interventions and vows never to try another.

Only the ministrations of his wife, Elizabeth, (Helena Bonham Carter) bring him to Lionel, who, believing emotional intimacy is curative. Among many other good things, “The King’s Speech,” directed by Tom Hooper, who directed HBO’s “John Adams”, is a meditation on a transitional time when royalty was expected to speak to the nation and not just pose commandingly before it.

Albert, son of King George V (Michael Gambon), believed he was protected from the humiliations of public oration because his brother Edward (Guy Pearce) was in succession. But when Edward, as king, abdicates to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson (Eve Best), Albert is reluctantly enthroned.

The film is able to balance the severity of the situation with a very honest and realistic perspective. At times they tread on some possibly dangerous ground, but because they handle the topic with such grace, what could be considered rude or offensive is actually quite interesting, important and even at times humorous.

The film concludes with the 1939 radio broadcast in which the stalwart, terrified King George VI, with Lionel alone by his side in a closed-off room, addresses Britain as it enters into war with Germany. This speech, a cliffhanger and a culmination, is what the entire movie has been incrementally leading up to.

Not only does Prince Albert have a stutter, a lisp, an accent different from Colin Firth’s, he also has to sound like the real King himself who has a very distinct voice. Not only does Firth give an incredibly compelling emotional performance, but the way he physically transforms himself is beyond impressive. this is THE BEST performance I’ve seen this year. It’s extremely complex and since his character is a stoic King he has very little room to express himself. A slight tonal shift in his voice has to speak volumes and luckily, due to his grasp of the character, it does. He should have won the Oscar last year for A Single Man, he should win it this year. 

No comments:

Post a Comment