Sunday 9 January 2011

The King's Speech (2011) - Tom Hooper

Much of the buzz around this film has concerned the performance of Colin Firth.  The film as a whole, however, deserves to be celebrated.

It's essentially a simple plot of a man coming to terms with power and responsibility.  To conquer his speech impediment, Bertie (Firth) employs the help of Lionel (Geoffrey Rush), a speech therapist.  His sessions are more a lesson in psychology, but prove the need for friendship - it's lonely at the top.  Simultaneously, the future King must come to terms with the private lives of his family and prepare a gloomily shot England for war.  The climax of the film has a rather odd effect of provoking celebration and joy for a most solemn moment - the commencement of WW2 - but the film's closing on Lionel rather than the King is poignant.

Rush and Firth have fantastic chemistry, each working as a foil for the other.  Both performances are exceptional, bringing believability to a clever, witty script full of both comic irony and pathos.  It's difficult to imagine Firth not winning the Best Actor awards for his endearing performance.  The dialogue heavy script is brought to life by a wealth of British acting talent, as well as a relatively unknown director.  It is shot simply, allowing the performances to shine through.  The film also retains historical fidelity through the use of official audio and visual footage.  It feels strange that events that took place not so long ago are now considered part of history, aided by the inclusion of a young Queen Elizabeth for a contemporary link.  The largely elderly, monarchist audience certainly approved.

At it's core though, the film is incredibly British.  The costumes, the locations, the clever and relevant Shakespeare quotations and the eloquent accents are all there, creating a film that celebrates Britain and deserves to be celebrated.

God s-save the (fuck fuck fuck) K-K-King.