Thursday, March 10, 2011

The King's Speech

Year: 2010
Director: Tom Hooper
Cast: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce

As you know by now, The King's Speech was a big winner at the recent Academy Awards, winning Best Picture, Director and Actor for Colin Firth. I had a chance to catch this film last week.

The movie follows how the Duke of York, who is essentially the second son of the royal family, became King of England. Our protagonist happens to suffer from a serious case of stammering, which makes him incapable of partaking in public speaking.

The Duke has met with many speech therapists, but none have been successful in curing him. His wife Elizabeth then finds a man named Lionel Logue, an Australian living in a tiny loft, who has unorthodox methods in curing speech impediments and asks for his help.

Lionel chooses to treat the Duke as an equal rather than as royalty, for example by calling him 'Bertie' and insisting that he follow Lionel's rules in his office. This doesn't sit well with the Duke at first, but as time passes they learn more about each other and Lionel even becomes a confidante of the Duke. When the Duke's older brother, Prince Edward chooses to give away the throne so that he may marry someone that the church disapproves of, the Duke suddenly finds himself the next in line for the crown. Thus begins the Duke's immense preparation to ascend the throne and overcome his condition.

I'm pretty sure that this film is a champion for people who have speech disorders, or anyone who had suffered a disease that they were embarrassed about, for it certainly helps them find a way to overcome it. More importantly, this film isn't just about overcoming adversity, it's also about friendship, and a meaningful one at that. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush have great chemistry together as the Duke and Lionel respectively, as two men who are at first, patient and specialist who slowly become friends and equals. Their friendship brings about plenty of touching scenes as well as hilarious moments.

Helena Bonham Carter finally gets to play herself after being the screeching Bellatrix in Harry Potter for too long, and lends good support as the Duchess of York, while Guy Pearce plays Prince Edward with just the right amount of nonchalance.

Director Tom Hooper has done a good job in bringing out the best from his cast, though I wouldn't have given him the Best Director Oscar (it should go to David Fincher). And similarly I wouldn't give The King's Speech the Best Picture Oscar. But that certainly doesn't mean this isn't a great film. It is, it does take a bit of time to warm up to, but it is ultimately inspiring to all. Go see it. (3.5/5)

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