Rarely do you get to see a movie that promises a lot and then, lives up to it's promise. The King's Speech is a rare piece,indeed.
The movie starts off with a stammering speech and signs off with a staggering one, with hardly any glitches in between. The basic premise of the movie is fairly simple. A king with a stutter is helped by a maverick speech therapist to overcome his problem and become an inspiring orator. That sounds like a very known territory to most movie goers. But few minutes into the movie, and you realize that this one simply pushes the bar a notch higher.
It is a very pleasing movie, doesn't lead the audience into a lot of uncomfortable questions. However, the artistry lies in the overall balance of the movie. You slowly start getting gripped by David Seidler's screenplay. The actors are superb, takes it slow and steady with superb grip on each of their characters. While Colin Firth puts in a spectacular performance (one you can't miss)， Geoffrey Rush goes a bit more old school and pulls off a subtle and deep portrayal. One that fills up your heart but also keeps your brain active. Humor comes in here and there, with a very easy flow and steady pace. Not for a single moment do you perceive the movie as dull. Helena Bonham Carter is good. Guy Pearce is appropriate, though he does look a bit too casual at times (maybe that was an intentional character flaw)。
Most of the movie had been filmed indoors, albeit with eloquent art direction. But the occasional sequences shot outside had been filmed very beautifully, portraying a very dreamy picture of the then England. Sometimes, the camera goes in too close to the characters, and stays there for a while, just long enough to give us a sense of suffocation, quite an artistic equivalent of a speech disorder ! But then again, negative shades had been whitewashed with joyous ones and you never perceive it as a dark movie. Direction wise, Tom Hooper is bang on ! This is the kind of a movie where you want to give a lot of credit to the director. The set-up is such that the dramatic elements are high but needs to be tamed, so that it doesn't goes over board. And Mr.Hooper hits the bulls eye ! Perfect balance.
All points considered, it's a brilliant movie and a must watch.
The King's Speech is both a lot funnier and, strangely, a lot more polite than you'd probably expect.
The humour mostly comes from Geoffrey Rush's speech therapist, who aims to cure Colin Firth's Duke of York's terrible stammer. And this is increasingly imperative; as the film begins, reigning monarch King George V (Michael Gambon) is ailing. There is some controversy over the next-in-line – Guy Pearce's Edward. Not only is Edward a bi-plane-flying, party-loving socialite but he is also in a relationship with American divorcee Wallis Simpson (Eve Best)。
Marrying her would cause a constitutional crisis – and potentially rip apart the Church of England.
With the advent of radio, the monarch must be able to speak well, and Firth may well be in the job sooner than he thinks. After trying many options, wife Helena Bonham Carter's Elizabeth finally turns to an Antipodean, specialising in some rather unconventional techniques, based on London's Harley Street. The Duke and the speech therapist form an unlikely friendship, verbally and even physically bouncing off each other with middle-aged abandon.
These scenes are the backbone of the film. They are funny, entertaining and performed by two actors obviously enjoying themselves enormously. Geoffrey Rush delivers great line after great line and Firth 'reacts' with a deadpan straightness. You'd wish there would be more of these moments. Additional comedy comes from some of the background characters. (www.lz13.cn)For instance, Timothy Spall's Winston Churchill rides the line of parody (mostly) successfully.
As for the film's politeness – some of it comes, predictably, from Firth's monarch-in-waiting. He's mild-mannered and sensitive royalty, and Firth employs a similarly understated approach than that of his work in A Single Man. The portrayal is quintessentially English, and as good as we've come to expect from Firth recently.
The remaining politeness comes from the film's level of drama. There are crown-loads of dramatic potential here – the troublesome father-son relationship between Gambon's truculent, demanding monarch and Firth's stammering son; the tension coming from the American interloper; the painful, unfolding, prelude to the Second World War playing out – but it's all background noise. Sometimes it feels forgotten about entirely, and historical perspective is, almost tastelessly, lost. And although there is a definite direction and development throughout the movie, there's only a sprinkling of edge-of-your-seat material. Any drama is tentative and inoffensive.
So, although there is a lot of humour, crowd-pleasing fun and some award-worthy performances, there is a lack of edge and darkness here. Triumph over adversity is fine if you get the measure of bitter and sweetness right. The King's Speech fails, and the end result is questionable and problematic.
This is a biopic about how King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II, overcame his stuttering problem. Widely considered by all but his father unfit to be king, George is reluctantly thrust unto the throne and into the spotlight after his brother is forced to abdicate. Overshadowed on the global stage by powerful orators like Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini, the King relies on the help of a little-known Australian speech therapist named Lionel Logue to find his voice and courageously lead his people into the most devastating war humanity has ever faced.
This is a powerful, hilarious and deeply moving story, told against the backdrop of a critical juncture in modern history, of the emergence of a deep friendship out of a professional relationship between two men who would otherwise never have socially interacted. The screenplay, written by David Seidler (who also wrote Tucker: The Man and his Dream), is excellent. The dry British wit is hilarious. I was literally slapping my knee during some of the scenes. Tom Hooper (Elizabeth I) does a superb job directing this movie. The buildup to the climactic finale is skillfully executed and prompted the audience to erupt into spontaneous applause. (Apparently, this also happened at the Roy Thomson Hall premiere.) Geoffrey Rush (Elizabeth: The Golden Age) does a fantastic job as Lionel Logue and Colin Firth (A Single Man) is excellent as King George VI.
I saw the second public screening of this movie at the Ryerson Theater during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Tom Hooper was present to introduce the movie. He was joined by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush after the movie ended for a brief Q&A.
It turns out that David Seidler also had a stuttering problem as a child and drew inspiration from the king's struggle. Early in his career he wanted to write a screenplay about it. He dutifully asked the Queen Mother for permission. She agreed but told him "not in my lifetime". Little did he know she would live to be 101 and he would have to wait another 30 years.
Another interesting tidbit we learned was that near the end of the shoot, the crew finally located one of Lionel Logue's grandsons, who just so happened to live about 10 minutes away from the director. They got access to Lionel's diaries and correspondence and managed to incorporate some of it into the script.
This movie is an unqualified must see.