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The Kings Speech - Movie Review by A.D.Harris

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Everyone said that Colin Firth should have won an academy award last year. To recap for those unaware, Firth played George Falconer in the 2009 Drama 'A Single Man.' and he just lost out to Jeff Bridges' Bad Blake from 'Crazy Heart'. Twelve months later and everyone is saying that Colin Firth should win an academy award this year for his role of King George in 'The King's Speech'; all in all it sounds like this may have been a very good twelve months for the 50 year old Brit.
I have to admit I have never been a huge Colin Firth fan, but having seen the trailer for the film, a historical drama based around the stammer of King George VI I found myself rather intrigued; the film is also what most people would describe as hot property, a critical darling and universally loved. So my main question was 'is it actually any good?'
I can confirm that the majority are not wrong and 'The King's Speech' is without a doubt a fantastic little movie about the relationship between the future King and his speech therapist Lionel Logue, an Australian professional in the field who insists on calling his Royal Highness 'Bertie'. When a movie relies so heavily on an unusual relationship such as this one it was vital that it had two actors capable of tacking the subject matter with the right approach; on paper a King with a stutter getting lessons from a speech therapist doesn't cry out as the next best thing.
And herein lies the masterstroke, no word lesser than brilliant should be used to describe Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, so interesting are the characters of 'Bertie' & 'Lionel' that they push the movie beyond what could have been standard fare to gripping, funny and powerful heights.
Firth tackles George masterfully, the stammer and mannerisms of the King are perfectly executed, you can feel the frustration in everything he says and does; every look he gives his wife has the sorrow of a man who physically is incapable of a man who possesses such power. As the movie go on and his attempts to improve begin to take effect, Firth makes sure they never seem forced or illogical; there is no huge leap forward at any point, just a man who slowly begins to find the voice his country needs him to have. The most important scene in the movie as Logue sits in King Edward's chair draws out the moment that you could feel George was trying to find, and a line so powerful and important to the person that Firth was playing was finally uttered and you could just feel the elation in the cinema screen; it was undoubtedly the pinnacle of Firth's career to date, so mesmerising and real was the man he brought to life.
Equal praise should be deservedly aimed at Geoffrey Rush, toning down from his recent endeavours as Captain Barbossa in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy to find a simple, normal and entertaining character in Lionel Logue. Often brash, saying exactly what he thinks and feels, Logue stands out as a man who only wants what's best for his client, creating a friendship with the King that holds stronger in impact than any other message the movie conveys. If justice where to be served then Rush should get the same level of plaudits that Firth is getting, but the general consensus is that Christian Bale may very well snatch the 'Best Supporting Oscar' away from his feet.
Other strong performances come from Helena Bonham Carter in a type of role I wish she did more of, less bizarre, but unnaturally beautiful and earnest. She pulls off the performance as George's wife, Queen Elizabeth with style and class and also finds herself rightly tipped for a good awards season; I've only ever seen her better when she played Mrs. Lovett.
Beyond the three main leads, the acting is also very strong; Michael Gambon, Guy Pearce & Derek Jacobi being some of the stand outs Perhaps the only disappointment is a bizarre interpretation of Winston Churchill by the usually solid Timothy Spall.
in terms of plot, the strongest moments come from the comedy in the speech therapy classes, most of the auditorium in stitches at Firth, Rush and Bonham Carter 'aaaahing' out through the window to the streets below, and also from a very strong closing act as the King pushes himself to try to find the words he needs to lead his country into war with Germany. It's fascinating from a history perspective, as well as a period drama and a character study and I can find very little to fault the entire production.
Minor gripes however would be that there is a slight lull as the midpoint tries to find its way towards the finale, covering a lot of passing time and loosening the tight pull on the story that the beginning and end master exquisitely.
So if there was to be a recommendation as to what is the first great movie of 2011, I would look no further than this astonishingly powerful character drama, that has one of the finest group of actors on top form.
It's not quite perfection, but then neither was Bertie's actual speech itself; something that didn't stop anyone from loving just as much.

9.5/10

Taken from: http://theadamharris.blogspot.com/

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