Friday, January 28, 2011

Movie Review: The King's Speech

Spoiler Free Review:

A film that carries the title of a King shall also. on merit, befit a King's royal tastes. Hooper's film not only matches the requisite ilk of a King-size demand, but it also beautifully encapsulates the age-old human drama.

A Story Befitting a King
(Minor Spoilers Ahead) 
      I know I could never admonish a person for stammering, but I never thought I would commend someone for it, and I still will not. Instead, I am going to do one better and shower limitless praise upon Colin Firth. His stupendously uplifting portrayal of Prince Albert (King George VI) in The King's Speech is—to quote Dick Vitale—simply sensational. So good, in fact, that I would already appoint Firth the global spokesperson on stammering. So good that, if Firth was commanding the Chicago Bears offense on their potentially game-tying drive against the vaunted Green Bay Packers last week, I'd wager my life's savings on him getting the ball in the end zone. So good, Michael Jordan would shake his head in awe. 
      The King's Speech is a moving film. Driven ever so confidently by the flawless performance from Firth, this film rhythmically passes along all the tender and sentimental moments of life—as well as the grim and dour remnants of a tormented psyche. Cocksure and Oxford-educated director, Tom Hooper, orchestrates this brilliant cast and touching story with such an Operatic, Broadway style tonality. The end result is a director's delight; a movie that is as popular as it is critically received. 
      The King's Speech is a period piece set in the pre-war-torn 1930's of Great Britain. This is a notorious time in world history, for the ominous specter of Nazism began to feverishly ferment across Europe. Complicating matters for Great Britain is the fact that Prince Albert—the presumptive heir to the King's throne—suffers from a lifelong speech impediment. His psychologically crippling stammer has levied undue ridicule upon his fragile, though royally-assuring, demeanor. In an unabashedly committed effort, Albert's wife, Elizabeth, (played exquisitely by Helena Bonham Carter) enlists the support of some of the foremost practitioners of speech therapy in the country, in order to remedy her husband's traumatizing speech condition—but to no avail. After painstakingly exploring all conceivable treatment methods, Elizabeth coaxes a quirky Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue (played magnificently by Geoffrey Rush) into helping her husband quell his stammer. Logue's unorthodox treatment methods clash with Albert's regal, strict sensibility. The beginning of a long and tenuous, but ultimately, genuine friendship is born.

      After the death of his father, George V (Michael Gambon) and the controversial abdication by his older brother Edward VIII (played shrewdly, but smugly by Guy Pearce), Albert becomes King George VI. He is forcibly thrust into power, at a time, when Great Britain is on the brink of war, and in a precariously desperate need of leadership. From an historical standpoint, The King's Speech is conscientiously accurate; although, some have claimed that the timeline has been minutely tinkered with, in order to create a more dramatic story. If this is the only verifiable gripe with the real-life story, I cannot be too critical. I do not claim to be as finicky about an incidental tweak of a film's story, at least to such an annoying level; such as my fitness fanatic brother trying to decide what's for dinner. 
      Firth's nuanced portrayal of Prince Albert (and King George VI) is complimented by Geoffrey Rush's poignant portrayal of Lionel Logue. Rush is universally recognized as a highly adept actor, and for good measure; he is the member of a distinguished group of rare actor's who all hold a Tony, an Emmy, and an Academy Award. Logue is a quirky character. On one end of the spectrum is his undying ambition to become a prominent theater actor, and on the other end, he is representative of the quintessential family man. However, the brilliance of Logue's character is realized through his earnest devotion to speech therapy. It is this mode of work that coalesces the struggles of Prince Albert's pandemic stammering problem with Logue's eccentric therapeutic processes. The beauty of The King's Speech is personified by this sincere character dynamic.
      Lionel Logue is a simple man, who possesses no traditional or scholarly credentials in the field of speech therapy, but he convinces the conventional stiff Albert, to adopt his oddball mechanisms. The struggle that faithfully leads to this revelation is masterfully espoused by Hooper's sophisticated, and tight command of the story. This film could have digressed into an insincere and insensitively stereotypical depiction of the human condition. Instead, Hooper summons us as witnesses to a distinctive and heartfelt tale.

      A film that carries the title of a King shall also. on merit, befit a King's royal tastes. Hooper's film not only matches the requisite ilk of a King-size demand, but it also beautifully encapsulates the age-old human drama. A King's throne fortuitously opens and a deserving beneficiary is there to gracefully assume the position. Hooper's film is so good, that the individuals who award Oscar's have granted the film an astounding 12 nominations. Any amount of praise I pay this film pales in comparison to the prodigious support bestowed by the members of the Academy.

9 out of 10

*You can check out the official trailer of The King's Speech below.


  1. Thx for the review i want to see this movie.

  2. I'm gonna watch it this weekend. Yey! :) Excellent review as usual, Matt. You're such a clever writer and a true connoisseur! ;)

  3. Now that's a film I'd really like to see.

    Can't go passed the lovely Colin Firth and fellow antipodean, Geoffrey Rush :)

    Margot :)

  4. Excellent review. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush are two of the most brilliant thespians working today.

  5. lovely review, dear Matty, as someone who prefers great actors to great films :) I really loved this one due to amazing acting performances from Rush and Bonham Carter and Gambon and Pearce, and Firth was great too.
    I really hope this film will take all the Oscars instead of all the bad movies it's running against.

  6. @ ruinz

    Do check the movie out as soon as you get the chance. Also, thanks for the follow and support. I'll follow back!

    @ Nebular

    Thanks! I appreciate the praise homes. I have a feeling you're really going to love this movie!

    @ Wendy

    Their performances are the glue of the film. I now know you will really enjoy this film.

  7. @ Melissa

    Thanks Mel! And I have to agree with you on that statement. Their work is consistently superb.

    @ Dezmond

    Sup Dez aka go-to Music Man! Thanks for the suggestions last week!

    Yes, I do appreciate a film that is supported by strong acting. And this film is the quintissential actor's tour de force with Firth and Rush putting forth outstanding performances.

    It's going to be BIG on Oscar Night! You'll be a happy viewer.

  8. I just can't wait for this! Still not in my cinema though :(

    Good review!

  9. This one just started here yesterday and I was wondering if it was worth a watch. I heard about the 12 nominations, but your review of the film is the first one I actually check out. I see that its a film that is a must watch!

  10. Thanks for the props on my Green hornet review.

    I'm following you now, if you want to follow me, there's a link up top by the search box that says 'Follow'

    That should do it.

    (Haven't seen this yet, but I will soon)

  11. @ Doo

    Hopefully it gets there soon. The wait will be worth it!

    @ Gooner Thoughts


    @ Film Connoisseur

    The film is definitely worth the watch. The 12 nominations are no fluke. I'm glad I can help convince you to see it. That's why I love this blog stuff!

    @ Rachel

    No problem. You wrote an excellent piece of comedic prose. Very nice review.

    Oh, I found it. I'm following you now!


  12. Be welcome, dear Matty, just as DJ DEZZ if you need new songs :)
    Have you heard of September? You must check out her songs CRY FOR YOU and SATELLITES over at YouTube ;)

  13. DJ Dezz, that's got a cool ring to it. I have not heard those songs. I'll go check 'em out.


  14. bonham carter burton is pretty good in whatever she's in.

  15. I agree. I really liked her performance in Fight Club, though not so much her character. Even her villainous role in the latest Harry Potter films is really good.

  16. I loved this film. It's a great example of a performance piece, with each actor perfectly cast. It's movies like these that remind you what real actors are capable of doing with the right material.

    I hope Colin Firth wins Best Actor, although I recently saw the trailer for Biutiful and Javier Bardem just might give him a run for his money.

  17. Yes it is! I love movies that showcase great acting.

    Colin Firth is most likely going to win. I'd rather see James Franco take the award, but I don't think that's going to happen.

    I have not seen Biutiful either, but Bardem is carving out quite a career. He's very talented.

  18. Brilliant review. I loved the film also.

  19. Thanks Lewis. I also checked out your review of The King's Speech. Nicely done!

  20. I thought it was really really nice. Great wide angle photography by Danny Cohen.