Saturday, 28 April 2012

The King's Speech

The King's Speech, 2010
Directed by Tom Hooper
Nominated for 12 Oscars, Won 4.
Up Against: The Social Network, Black Swan, The Fighter, True Grit, Inception, Toy Story 3, The Kid's Are Alright, Winter's Bone, 127 Hours

As I've said in a previous post, The King's Speech makes into my favourite movies arena. I seriously enjoyed it, and I'm putting that up front right now before I do a little analysis and say what I liked and didn't like about it.

For those of you who don't know, this movie is the story on King George VI, known as Bertie. Bertie is the Duke of York, and struggles with a speech impediment that makes it very difficult for him to speak (much less in front of an audience). His wife, Elizabeth is reffered to a quirky speech therapist named Lionel. While Bertie is hesitant at first, he finds himself needing help, and knows Lionel can help him. Soon, he is thrust on the throne  very unexpectedly. How can Bertie lead a country if he can hardly speak?

This is Tom Hooper's second feature film after having done great work doing several different mini-series. He and the crew knew that they had to get some sort of star attached to this project or it may never lift off the ground. Someone in the crew lived  near Geoffrey Rush and they got them to slip the script through Rush's mailbox, with a note attached to it apologizing that it was unsolicited but they desperately wanted him to do the film. Who knew the act of slipping an unsolicited script through a mailbox started the process in what ended up to be the next Best Picture winner.

The crew were able to find their star-studded cast, having Colin Firth, Helena Bonham-Carter, along with Geoffrey Rush, to play the three lead. Geoffrey Rush was such a treat in this film. He was quirky and zany, but he was also inspiring. Rush really nailed the part of quirky, Aussie Lionel (though the accent was only sort of there). Helena Bonham-Carter was lovely, which is in stark contrast with her character Bellatrix LeStrange in Harry Potter, which she was filming at the same time as the King's Speech. She was supportive of her husband, but she was broken-hearted over this hurt her husband was going through. And she was a little bit uppity, but Helena is wonderful, and was able to play all of it convincingly, and with lots of grace and poise.

And then there's Colin Firth. Honestly, we was so phenomenal in this role. His stuttering was heartbreaking, especially the beginning speech in the movie, just those horrible echoing noises, and just not knowing how to get his words out. Colin Firth both broke my heart and made me laugh throughout this movie. He was able to strike the right balance between humor and sorrow, especially in the scene while talking about his childhood with Lionel. Colin Firth really embraced this role, and seemed to truly get into the heart of the character. His speech impediment, and his stuttering were perfect and were never too overboard, or too subtle. He struck the right amount, making it more severe in some situations, and less so in others.

The scenery and artwork and costumes were all great. Alexandre Desplat gives us a lovely score. Nothing too brilliant, though in some of the more emotional tracks (Queen Elizabeth, Memories of Childhood), he replays a single not over and over, almost as though it is stuttering and can't get farther. But that may be me reading into Desplats music (though I doubt it, he's played themes backwards and forward before).

One thing that bothered me is sometimes the cinematography tried to be too "artsy". There were a lot of awkward, character in the very corner of the shot, sometimes cutting the person beside them out. It's hard to explain without showing. Google didn't have many good examples. This was as close as I could get

Overall, the film told it's story well. It showed the problem right up front, and showed how Bertie dealt with it (or didn't), and how exactly it affected his life, and why.

Many will say this is one of the most competitive and disputed years. You'll hear such debates as Shakespeare in Love vs Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump vs Pulp Fiction, and I know that list has come to include The King's Speech vs The Social Network. Like the 2 debates mentioned above, both are incredibly different and very opposite movies. The King's Speech is a classy period piece, while The Social Network was very modern and dealt with something very current. Both have pros and cons about them, but for this one, I'm going to have to side with The King's Speech. It took me a few tries to warm up to the Social Network and appreciate what it is. While it had good acting, the acting in TKS is much stronger, though TSN excelled in the music (the music and movie had amazing chemistry) and cinematography.

Unpopular(ish) opinion, but I dearly love The King's Speech. It was an uplifting, yet sad, movie, and had some very wonderful performances.

Acting- 8.5/10 
Directing- 7.5/10 
Screenplay- 7/10 
Visuals- 8/10
Music- 8/10 
Entertainment- 7.5/10 
Emotional Connection- 7.5/10 
Rewatchability- 7/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 7.5/10 
Overall Package- 7.5/10       

Total: 76/100

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