The King’s Speech: A Good but Familiar Sound
It’s Oscar season, everybody, and if you must know, I really loved The Social Network. David Fincher really showed us that it is possible to make a surprisingly smart, hip, and actually well-acted movie about something as simple as Facebook. It’s something that no one really expected, and I’m pulling for it all the way this season to take home the Best Picture Oscar. Now, while other critics are saying the exact same thing, audiences aren’t exactly seeing it the way that I do. Instead, many of them are flocking to another movie that’s also based on a true story. Here’s the ironic part: it’s from Britain. So before I saw The Mechanic, I decided to check out the movie that’s garnishing as much buzz: The King’s Speech.
Based on the story of King George VI trying to overcome a stutter in time to motivate Britain during the brink of World War II, The King’s Speech gives us big-name Brits like Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush (okay, he’s Australian, but it still counts), and Helena Bonham Carter to tell us this motivational tale of a man who would be king. This movie is neck-in-neck with The Social Network in the Best Picture race, but is it the best movie? No. Is it a bad movie? Not even. This movie was what you would expect from an inspirational movie and then some, but it seems too much like another inspirational movie called The Blind Side. You had someone come out of nowhere do something considerably crazy to a somewhat lost cause that, in the end, makes him come out stronger than ever.
Colin Firth plays Albert, the Duke of York, who has to make public speeches but has a bad stutter and is thus afraid to talk. His wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), consults a speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) who is known for his unorthodox yet effective methods of therapy in Australia and also enjoys acting Shakespeare without any success. The resulting buildup and partnership leads to a friendship that becomes just as strong as the future king’s ability to speak becomes in the end.
Firth is getting a reputation for this role as he has won the “Best Actor” from almost every single critic’s circle out there as well as the Golden Globe for this role, partially because he can actually make a convincing stutter. He really made his character seem natural and believable, which is hard for a character like his. Helena Bonham Carter’s performance didn’t leave much of an impression because she always seems to have a very still, calculating face with little emotion that only comes out through her voice. The role that stood out the most, however, was Geoffrey Rush. He made just about every scene that he was in with Firth entertaining, interesting, and at times really funny. His performance probably deserves the Best Supporting Actor Oscar more than Christian Bale, but I haven’t seen The Fighter, so I really can’t tell.
The movie does benefit of having a great ensemble, but that was because it benefitted from big-named talents, so that really doesn’t reflect much on the director. The inspirational arc that this movie has is similar to, like I said, other movies like The Blind Side and Stand and Deliver. In fact, if you were to pair this movie with Blind Side, you can easily pick out the similarities, especially the final scene. The story itself isn’t bad, and it does have the heart needed to make this movie work, even if it does come across a little too much by trying to make the audience root for this guy when the burden comes crashing down on him and putting in some obvious moments like George proclaiming “I have a voice”. My only real big criticism, besides the arc, is on the camerawork of this film. The camera puts the actors on the corner or on the far side of the screen as opposed to the center, which if you’re going to put a backdrop or some form of movement that goes with the scene is fine, but there wasn’t any, so why not put the characters in the center?
Bottom Line: The King’s Speech is good like The Blind Side is good. It does suffer from the inspirational schmaltz at times, but it’s pretty good. The acting is great from Firth and Rush, it does build up in an entertaining and even funny way, and it does have heart. I wouldn’t call this the potential “Best Picture” as it didn’t amaze me like The Social Network did; but nevertheless, it’s one of the best and still worth checking out.
Final Rating: 8 out of 10 – Do Go