Posted by: popcouver | January 25, 2011

The King’s Speech Review

As Popcouver continues to check off our Oscar nominated films, I rocked a double feature on Sunday, starting off with a little guilty-pleasure-Nat-Port in No Strings Attached (see review here), and finishing with Tom Hooper’s masterpiece, The King’s Speech.

Though both were satisfying, I’m going to agree with the Academy and say that The King’s Speech is the better film of the two.

It’s weird, because I never really think of Colin Firth as being a heavy hitting actor. I guess to me, he’s always just going to be Amanda Bynes’s dad or the cute guy who learns Portuguese in Love Actually.

However, in his role as King George VI, he blew me away. I think it’s difficult enough for people who have a stutter to speak publicly, but to put on a stutter, and then film an entire movie? Not easy. However, it isn’t just his linguistic abilities that impressed me. The emotions, the reality of his fear, the endearing relationship with his daughters and the guardedness against everyone except for his family caught me. Especially well acted was the relationship between himself and his wife. The scene where Firth and Bonham Carter’s characters snuggle in the car makes royalty seem relatable. Well played, Colin Firth. After watching 127 Hours, I picked James Franco as my Best Actor. Sorry Franco, but you have been unceremoniously de-throned by the King himself.

Helena Bonham Carter, on the other hand, has always been a favorite of mine. Whether she’s playing an innocent young girl in Big Fish or the devious Bellatrix Lestrange, Bonham Carter brings life and lustre to her characters. Like our Popcouver correspondent CT said, Bonham Carter plays characters, not roles. She becomes them. I agree, especially with her playing the wife of the King of the British Empire. She was classy and funny, poised and glamourous. (Check out that blue hat!) I’m thrilled with her nomination for Best Supporting Actress, because she earned it. My particular favorite HBC moment was the scene where she tells the King that she only married him because she knew his stutter would stop him from ever becoming king. If you’ve seen the film, you know what I’m talking about!

The last, but not least important, character of this trio is Geoffrey Rush’s Lionel Logue, the speech therapist with no formal training who manages to coach the King into his role. To be honest, this film could not have been more perfectly cast. I loved the contrast between Logue and “Bertie”, as he calls King George, for Logue is soft, sweet, and pal-ish with his children, whereas the King is formal and stiff. The chemistry between these two characters grows accordingly to their relationship throughout the film, and Rush patiently and carefully carries out his character’s progression from therapist to friend. Oscar nod, well deserved.

Would it be a stretch for all three of these actors to win their category at the Oscars? Maybe. But I wouldn’t be disappointed.

This film is an absolute triumph. Its quiet humour and mono-hue color scheme creates diversity and contrast between the worlds of the King and Logue. The cinematography is fantastical but simultaneously realistic. In a film where the entire focus is on speaking, the audience’s range of senses and emotions are alert with anticipation for the final speech segment, which is nothing short of a masterpiece.


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