All Hail The Kings Speech!!

This essentially is a reissue of a previous post, which I’m doing to celebrate The King’s Speech’s 7 BAFTA wins, and especially Colin Firth’s Best Actor Gong – all were well deserved. 

Having seen this film again Sunday morning prior to the BAFTA Awards show on BBC 1 I wanted to revisit the review I wrote as I discovered new character nuances, visual techniques that just made me understand and love this movie even more – a rare thing as costume drama’s are not normally my thing.  So I thought I’d try and rewrite it (and make corrections to a few deliberate mistakes which naturally you all spotted), i wanted to do more justice to Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter’s performances (both winning gongs on the night), I wanted to speak more of the script, Tom Hooper’s directing. 

But then I realised that words are a poor replacement for the experience, I’m not nearly talented enough a wordsmith to convey just how good this movie is.  So I would recommend you all go see this movie (and support British Cinema at the same time) – but if your undecided, here’s the updated review to give you a bit of guidance at what you can expect.

I finally got to see ‘The King’s Speech’, spurred on further by Colin Firth’s Golden Globes win, and thought I’d add my own review…because it’s one good movie!

Prince Albert (Colin Firth) has suffered with a stammer since early childhood, and with threat of war and the abdication of his older brother forcing the kingdom on his shoulders, he turns to an unconventional, colonial, speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) to cure his affliction.

Following on from last years ‘A Single Man’ by Tom Ford Firth has once again got the Oscar nod. English actors don’t tend to fare very well at the Oscars, and Firth isn’t helped by the fact he’s playing a character from English history. Because America won the war, you know?

This film’s marketing portrayed this as well cast Merchant Ivory-like costume drama. However historical dramas are generally typified by fluid prose spoken with inch perfect diction. Here Firth plays a man who struggles to speak every word – a stammer a famous tripping point for actors. An affliction developed at a young age, and teased by his father and older brother. A man who’s lived a life of repressed emotions and living during the threat of war. What’s astounding is that with every tick, stammer, and angry outburst, Firth portrays the heartbraking weight laid heavily on his shoulders.
The film opens with Albert (or Bertie to his family) attempting to read a message from his father King George V at the Empire convention at Wembley, and we see how the audience turn in disappointment as he stammers through the speech. When all others fail, he turns to Logue, an antipodeon failing actor, who uses unconventional techniques to help the Prince to overcome his stammer. Logue has the audacity to call the Prince Bertie (only an australian could be so bold!), and insists that the stammer cannot be overcome without delving into the Prince’s personal life. Despite his best efforts to prevent it his older brother abdicates (the famous Mr. Simpson, played by Guy Pearce) the inevitable responsibility of the Empire falls onto him.

It’s amazing to consider all the obstacles placed in front of The King at the time. On the one hand, this was a man who had to overcome some many personal obstacles, and would go on to become a symbol of resistance throughout the second world war (Was there a more inspiring phrase than ‘For King and Country’?). It’s also amazing to view the reception to the Kings early efforts at public speaking. A turn of the head, disappointment, shame. Would that be the same today if, for example, Prince William suffered with Tourette’s Syndrome? Imagine the new lows Ricky Gervais and Frankie Boyle would plumb then? In a time when students will willfully attack the heir to the throne while he and his wife drive through the streets. It puts in to focus just how important The King’s words were, in a time where the wireless was king and the power of words was paramount. And with it came some of the most important characters, and the most important speakers of the war period. Not only stammering King George, but Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother forever loved for saying of the bombing of Buckingham palace “I’m glad we’ve been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East-end in the face”), Timothy Spall’s Winston Churchill (who gave the most famous and most quoted war-time speech) and even footage of Hitler (who the King himself said spoke well – even if the words were of pure hate and prejudice).

The supporting cast are wonderful, you may even go so far as to call this movie a ‘Bromance’ as it’s through friendship that Bertie is let loose of his trappings. A scene where Bertie gleefully swears at the top of his voice, a touching and beautiful scene where after the death of his Father Bertie starts putting together a model aeroplane, a metaphor for the the fixing of a man who still carries with him his childhood fears. Logue is not only taking away the Prince’s disability, he’s putting him back together. The film would live and die on the performance of Firth, and how believable the friendship of these two characters are.  Thankfully both are note perfect.

The maxim in movies is show don’t tell, and yet thefilms’s climax is the speech itself, one that calms the nation after the threat of war, that makes George and the royal family a symbol of strength and resistance, and the culmination of Bertie’s new strength and belief, and his bravery.

This is a film that goes beyond what you expect and is deserving of the buzz surrounding it. Firth portrays a man of wit, charm, and utter frailty of spirit, a man completely trapped within his own body. Supported by a wonderful cast and considerate direction that beautiful portrays one of England’s most trying and difficult periods. The American involvement might well have helped end the war, but without British resistance they may well never have been able to make that boast. Let’s hope that come February the Academy remember it!

Five star review from me. *****


Fubar Robinson


~ by Ian Fubar Robinson on February 15, 2011.

5 Responses to “All Hail The Kings Speech!!”

  1. Hello! deckedk interesting deckedk site!

  2. You’re blogging has really come on when I look back over previous posts. Actually I arrived here from a forum on an unrelated topic. Worth surfing sometimes. Thanks.

  3. Although there is no matter, would you please inform, who designed this website?

    • The theme is ChaoticSoul by Bryan Veloso, one of wordpress’ own designs, the header picture is a HD wallpaper I found online that was cropped to fit the design, the arrangements were picked by me. Hope that helps.

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