Review: The King’s Speech

It’s been out a long time now, but I finally got round to seeing the movie that stole the Oscars this year, and I wasn’t the only one. There were a good 20 plus people in the screening too, which I took as a good sign as surely some of these people must be on a repeat viewing.

First of all I’d like to say that I can see why this film won so many Oscars. The acting was supreme, there wasn’t a single member of the cast who was weak. Colin Firth’s stuttering king was both commanding and vulnerable at the same time. Geoffrey Rush’s performance as Lionel Logue, the unorthodox speech therapist stole the show in my mind. Helena Bonham Carter’s Duchess of York was a caring, motherly influence, looking after her husband’s best interests while struggling to overcome her disapproval of Logue. Special mention has to be made to some of the supporting cast; Timothy Spall’s Churchill was scenery-chewingly brilliant and Michael Gambon looked uncannily like King George V and spoke with iron-clad authority.

The camera work was equally as impressive with a lot of the long dialogue scenes shot with the characters speaking in the lower half, and often in the bottom corner of the shot. The exterior scenes of post-war London were suitably draped in thick smog (a clever way to disguise a set) that gave a haunted feel to a city about to be thrust into World War II.

What is refreshing about The King’s Speech is that this is the first film that in a long while that has taken cinema back to pure acting. There are no prosthetics, no special effects and no 3D, just good old period drama of a sort that hasn’t really been seen from a runaway success since perhaps Atonement. Saying this, it certainly isn’t boring in the slightest, in fact there are a lot of clever quips made by Logue as he chips away at the King’s snobbery. The scene in which he has ‘Bertie’ marching around the room swearing like a trooper had the whole room in stitches. The two hours passes  really quickly thanks to the pace of the film, which is judged perfectly. This is a gripping period drama and fully deserves all the plaudits it receives.

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One Response to “Review: The King’s Speech”

  1. Jo Williams Says:

    I think that one of the simplest successes of The King’s Speech was its minimalist setting; the expansive rooms leant themselves perfectly to the true nature of George VI’s haunting disability, adding to the emotional output generated by Colin Firth.
    If there is to be a negative criticism, it’s that Guy Pearce – cast as David, Bertie’s older brother – is younger than Colin Firth. A pedantic criticism, yes, but his antipodean roots were well-disguised, allowing us to forgive this oversight.

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