The King's Speech

2010 best picture

Rating: 17/20 (Jen: 17/20)

Plot: In this hilarious remake of Harold Lloyd's Girl Shy, Harold is a future king of England who conquers his fear of public speaking (glossophobia, if you care) after driving a trolley ridiculously fast through New York City's busy streets and climbing a 12-story building. Thankfully, he lives to tell about both so that The Queen with Helen Mirren can happen sixty years later. I just don't know what I'd do if The Queen with Helen Mirren didn't exist. This also, I believe, rips off The Karate Kid. Not the original. No, the remake with Jackie Chan. I'm not sure how the Oscar people didn't catch that.

The only gripe I have here is the same gripe I have for any movie featuring a character who stutters: Mel Tillis of Cannonball Run and Cannonball Run II fame didn't get his chance to shine in a serious role. The King's Speech is that sophisticated sort of movie made so that people can throw awards at it. Not that they aren't deserved. Colin Firth's excellent as George VI. Realistic stuttering, I imagine, is difficult to pull off. I'm not a professional actor or anything although I do frequently act out scenes from my own screenplays while standing in front of a full-length mirror. And I've tried to pull off realistic stuttering, admittedly to practice in case I'm ever in a situation where I can make fun of people who stutter. Can't do it. So Colin Firth's ability to not only pull off a realistic stutter while simultaneously showing off the range of emotions that he does (quietly showing them off, I should note) is impressive. His isn't the only impressive performance--Geoffrey Rush matches Firth classy word for classy word while Helena Bonham Carter's really good as the queen. I like the way the movie is shot, too. Backgrounds are used to accentuate the characters' emotions, and there's a crispness to the picture that I really like. The movie's also not all stuttering all the time either. The natural development of the friendship between George and Lionel is just right, and there are some humorous moments in the dialogue, my favorite being during a dinner scene when somebody farts and both men point at each other before Guy Pearce's character pokes his head through a hole in the ceiling and reminds everybody that "the smeller's the feller" before blowing a raspberry, winking awkwardly, and disappearing to bugger a tart or something.

I'm starting a petition to get Colin Firth in either Cannonball Run III or a television remake of the 1970's sitcom Alice, by the way. Let me know if you're interested in signing it by leaving a comment below.

Edit: I had spelled Colin Firth's name incorrectly four times. Luckily, I fixed it before he saw it because that's the sort of thing that could ruin his year.


cory said...

I like your comment about a movie made for people to throw awards at...and they did. The fact that it beat "The Social Network" will always irritate me. The only major award it deserved was for Firth. He is incredibly good. It must have been very difficult to think about doing a realistic stutter while being pitch-perfect emotionally.

Aside from beating the best, my next biggest issue was the directing and cinematography. Everything moved at a stately, by-the-numbers, watch this important historical drama feel. The end was almost laughable the way it hit you over the head with the Rush-Firth-Rush-Firth-Rush closeup/ meaningful look fest. I get it. He helped the King. They respect and maybe even want to hump each other. The James Cameron lookalike director was handed a perfect dramatic story idea and lead actor and did nothing special with it. The colors also bugged me. Unless the Sun in the 30's emitted a blueish tint, something just wasn't right. Making everything blue doesn't help me get in an historical mood, it just distracts and depresses me.

"The King's Speech" is a very good movie, mostly because the idea at it's center is brilliant, and because the perfect Firth and solid weird-looking Rush are very good together. It just ain't all matter what the stupid
#/(%!*& Academy says. A 16.

Barry said...

I think I would give it the same grade as you, Shane...maybe even, dare I say it, one grade higher. Like Cory I thought that The Social Network was the superior movie, but the gap is not nearly so great that I got upset about it winning. (Unlike last year when the mediocre and instantly forgettable Hurt Locker won over interesting movies like Up In The Air or incredibly entertaining fare like Inglourious Basterds.)

I liked this movie because it dealt with a period in history I had recently become interested in, and bam the movie comes out. (I admit to being interested in the Edward/Wallace Simpson story, but seeing it from this angle was especially gratifying.)

Yeah lets go ahead and give this sucker an 18.....and give The Social Network a 19. Just to keep that straight.

Shane said...

I gave 'The Social Network' and this the same rating, right? If I had to pick one to watch twice in one day, it would be 'The Social Network'...I'd give the edge to that one then. Plus, I'm a huge fan of Jesse Eisenberg fan.