Saturday, 12 February 2011
King's 'Extraordinary' Speech
Time to play at film critic again and it's a while since I've been to the cinema, which is unlike me, but a family trip out to see the King's Speech was how I spent my Saturday evening.
No bangs, no explosions, no fantasy figures apparating; just exceptional acting, production and direction.
This film has 12 Oscar nominations and it is easy to understand why. This film presents itself in muted colour and I don't even think it is in HD. 118 minutes long and rated 12A (there is a little bad language but nothing gratuitous or unnecessary and totally in context to the plot,) it provides the cinema goer with a range of emotional experiences. There is a huge and high quality supporting cast - too many to mention.
The Duke of York has a speech impediment - a bad stammer. He is second in line to the throne when his brother King Edward ascends who then subsequently abdicates because of his love for a divorcee American, Wallis Simpson. War is just around the corner. The Duke of York didn't want to be King and he never expected to be King. The story is simply how the future King George VI, the Duke of York attempts to cure his stammer or control it at least to enable him to take up his public duties and make speeches without losing any credibility with his people.
Oscar nominated Colin Firth commands this picture with his very presence supported by Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) and the exceptional Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue, an Australian speech therapist. Both Bonham Carter and Rush are Oscar nominated for best supporting actor.
The heart aches for the Duke as he attempts to make public speeches, the embarrassment is palpable and the looks on the faces of the Duke's audiences is both subtle, respectful but telling of their real thoughts. There is humour in adversity and there are surprisingly some laughs as the Duke and Lionel Logue spar with each other and the dialogue is sharp. There is the trauma of the Duke of York being berated by his father, King George V for not being able to read a radio broadcast speech and his nasty brother, the future King Edward jibes him cruelly.
No spoilers here so you'll have to go and see it to see what happens, but for me, the film gets 10/10 for sheer quality with a history lesson of the time thrown in. This film might even slip into my top ten best film list.
So, what does the film tell us? It tells me that for some, a stammer can be debilitating to the point of bringing on depression and creates isolation and withdrawal. This film is an inspiration - it makes me understand in no uncertain terms what having a stammer means, and perhaps for those with a stammer, gives hope and belief.
If you've seen it let me know what you think, if you haven't seen it - take a trip to the pictures before it goes. I understand that the cinema run has been extended because of its popularity and the increasing age groups that are now flocking to see it. This isn't just an older person's film.
Picture of Colin Firth as King George VI from IMDB