Monday, December 20, 2010

Worth a Listen

The King's Speech is one of those good-for-you movies that feels like it's been made and engineered to win awards. (Kind of like a Tom Hanks–Steven Spielberg production for HBO.) It's got an Oscar-pedigreed cast above the title (nominees Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter and winner Geoffrey Rush), it's being distributed by the Oscar-hungry Weinstein Company (see Shakespeare in Love, Inglorious Basterds), and it's about that veddy British of subjects, the Monarchy. Oh, and it's a period drama set during the 1930s. What about that doesn't scream high-quality Oscar bait?

I don't say all that to be dismissive. The King's Speech is, indeed, a very good film, and it will likely win a handful of awards in the coming months — and those will be well earned, no matter how much promotional backing the Weinsteins give the film.

In The King's Speech, Firth plays Prince Albert, Duke of York, who has a terrible speech impediment and a fear of public speaking. When his father, King George V (Michael Gambon), dies, and his older brother, King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), abdicates the throne, Albert suddenly becomes King George VI. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, Albert's wife, Elizabeth (Carter), pairs her husband with an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Rush), who, of course, breaks through and helps Albert's problem.

Beautifully written by David Seidler, beautifully directed by Tom Hooper, and featuring some top-notch performances by the aforementioned three lead actors, The King's Speech is certainly an impressive film. Despite its subject matter, it's not stuffy (like a Merchant Ivory film would be), and it's actually quite funny at parts. Sure, parts of the story can be conventional and the whole thing could have been edited down by about 5-10 minutes, but overall The King's Speech is worth a listen. I'm giving it a B+.



Post a Comment

<< Home