For those of you who watched the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony last Sunday, you know that the big winner of the night was The King’s Speech. The film picked up four Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay (David Seidler), Best Actor (Colin Firth), Best Director (Tom Hooper), and Best Picture. Many seem to feel discouraged that other nominees such as The Social Network and Inception did not win the title of Best Picture (both films are spectacular, by the way), but it is my pleasure to inform you of the many reasons why The King’s Speech is in fact the rightful winner. The film, written by David Seidler, is based on the true story of King George VI of England. I know what you are already thinking….ugh, a film about royalty! And I can say with confidence that this particular movie on British royalty is not painful to watch like others you may have experienced. Seidler keeps your attention with this simple yet intricate storyline that revolves around the characters played by Colin Firth (Love Actually, Bridget Jone’s Diary, Pride & Prejudice) and Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Shakespeare in Love). The film opens in 1925 where the future king, Prince Albert (Firth), is called to give the closing speech to the British Empire Exhibition. As he begins his speech, a nervous stutter is apparent along with an awkward line of squeaks and pauses that seem to almost get the best of him. What follows are many tedious appointments with speech therapists and the constant reminders from his overbearing father, King George V (Michael Gambon), of his duty to be able to speak and be heard, especially as World War II is apparent in the near future. As Albert looses hope, his loving wife, the future Queen Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), looks into a referred speech therapist by the name of Lionel Logue (Rush) who is known for his more extreme approaches. Albert, who is not exactly pleased to see a “commoner” speech therapist, decides to go and see him anyway due to the shortcomings of his previous therapists and his older brother Edward’s (Guy Pearce) slow dissension from the throne. What comes from this is a mismatched friendship between Albert and Lionel that was by no means an easy relationship to establish. With Albert’s high-strung personality and his flustered rage, Lionel plays psychiatrist, trying to help him overcome his fears and peer into the royal bloodline where most of his problems originate from. This film would not have been a success without the suburb acting from the entire cast, Firth especially. Firth and Rush have great chemistry in the film. They play off each other very well and both deliver a heartfelt but yet comedic performance. One of my personal favorite moments in the films is where Lionel finds that Albert does not stammer when he swears. So in the confinements of Lionel’s home office, where his family has no idea of his royal patient, he insists that Albert swear as freely and as loudly as he wants which results in a very amusing tangent (honestly the only reason why this film is rated R). Another great performance is from the enchanting Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 & 2, Fight Club) who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Carter is definitely no Bellatrix Lestrange is this movie. Her simple role gave the film a certain warmth that can be defined best by the saying “behind every great man there’s a great woman”. Why she didn’t win an Academy Award is beyond me, but her presence in the film goes to show how much these small details can contribute to a much bigger picture. But beyond all, director Tom Hooper is the real genius behind this masterpiece. From working with Seidler to make the film as accurate as possible, to assembling a cast that works together flawlessly, he was a very deserving candidate for the award. Now that you know a bit about the film and the factors that put the film inthe same category as classics such as Gone With the Wind, The Godfather, and Ben-Hur and newer favorites such as Titanic, Gladiator, and The Departed, it’s up to you to decide whether this film is right for you. In all honesty, the film is not for everyone, but it is a touching film that should be seen by all film buffs and movie goers alike. It is not as visually appealing as Inception or as modern as The Social Network, but it’s got some class that is fit for a king.
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