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A Truly Royal Account
The King's Speech (DVD)
Member Name: victoriahathaway
The King's Speech (DVD)
Date: 15/01/11, updated on 12/08/11 (86 review reads)
Advantages: Flawless cast, and a warm, witty centre.
Disadvantages: Its level of accuracy is arguable!
Regarded by many as a very British director, The King's Speech shows no signs that Hooper is swaying from the monarchs and courageous stories he has so familiarised himself with, and thank goodness! The King's Speech is a beautifully told story of King George VI and his demoralizing stammer - a tale positively overflowing with snobbery, the great British spirit, and 'Ma'am as in ham'.
The story takes place in the 1920s and 30s, beginning with a brief introduction to our Royal protagonist (Colin Firth) as he shamefully stumbles his way through a speech at Wembley Stadium. What follows is his resolve to overcome his speech impediment, with the help of unorthodox diction therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). George's personal endeavors are impeded as his father passes away, leaving his elder brother Edward as an unreliable and undisciplined King.
I'll admit I don't have a huge interest in the Royal family, and was unaware of the events surrounding Edward's abdication and George's rise to the throne, so The King's Speech was rather educational for me. I have heard, however, that Edward may have been portrayed in a rather negative light, casting him as an abhorrent character when he may not have deserved such judgement. Regardless, Guy Pearce is excellent as the apparently pretentious Royal.
Colin Firth is flawless as King George, choking on words with such agony etched on his features that one's heart wrenches for him. He strikes a perfect balance between the snobbish Royal and the vulnerable outcast of his family, and truly grows throughout the film as he learns to loosen both his larynx and his haughtiness, gaining a true friend. Geoffrey Rush is also marvelous as the eccentric Logue, and the interactions between the two men are some of the most warming, witty scenes I've seen in a long time, beginning with George's spluttering outrage at being immediately nicknamed 'Bertie' by a commoner, and yet concluding with a lasting friendship. I could easily go through the entire cast list of The King's Speech and praise each actor and actress for an impeccable performance. Suffice to say, there's not a weak spot in sight.
It's very much a character built story - both George and Logue have inner demons to battle and their own problems to overcome, and use each other as emotional leaning posts throughout the film. George comes to depend on the robust, reliable Logue just as Logue, a failing actor, yearns for the faith in himself that George inspires. It's warming, but not over sensitive or sentimental - despite the closeness between characters and the themes of victory and courage the film expresses, the social boundaries between Logue and George remain, carried with a quiet, understanding kind of dignity by both men - the kind of quiet dignity that has become amalgamated with Britain and the infamous wartime British spirit.
The film itself, with its muted tones and foggy London setting is serenely pleasing, and brief flashes of vibrant colours give energy to an otherwise dreary scene, such as when George becomes King - dressed in Royal garb, a bright blue sash draped across him, he brightens a drab room when faced with several black clothed members of parliament, clergy and Royalty. And of course, as one would expect from a film centered on speeches, the film's sound is impeccable. Footsteps ringing on wooden floors; teaspoons clinking against china teacups; swallowing throats working manically to voice words - sound is heightened and luxurious in every aspect.
Overall, The King's Speech is a film which delights in subtleties and story telling, character development and friendship. It's a story which exposes character flaws and explores them, with a depth of humanity that is both charming and witty, and tries hard to remain unoffensive and accurate. A warming drama that will surely boast an oscar or two later this year.
Summary: A must see for fans of drama and character led films.