Certain films are made with awards in mind, Slumdog Millionaire is one example, Titanic another. The King's Speech is also up there. Not that this is a bad thing, if Mr Darcy wants an Oscar and he delivers a performance deserved of one, for gods sake give it to him.
What I don't agree with and what is unfortunately yet another Hollywood foible (obvious example: Award dragnet Braveheart), is not letting the truth get in the way of a good story. Two minutes googling will give you a barrage of information and misinformation on The King's Speech every piece of which is much too controversial for my little mind to comprehend, it's all pro-Nazi this and "sieg heil" that. The only conclusion being that the average cinema goer wants to see an untroubled story of a poor little monarch countering his disability, so that's what they gave them.
Unfortunately though, the rest of the film is too good to let that slide. It is an intelligent film targeting intelligent cinema goers, the like of which do not merely accept what is in front of them. I am not the only one who will spend two minutes with a search engine, we are many. And as there are many intelligent viewers out there, why take the gamble? Why not surprise them with the truth, let them leave the cinema, go home shocked and a little dismayed, turn on their computers and find out... OMG, it's all true.
Colin Firth plays a good dad, a dutiful brother and an afflicted, put upon son. It is an award worthy performance, you feel his discomfort and his embarrassment as if first hand. Helena Bonham Carter is the queen mum, she just is. The impression is uncanny. Geoffrey Rush insists on calling the monarch Bertie but is (at times) scared of his own wife, a very nice scene is one where the two meet. This leading cast has no low point.
King Edward VIII was unbelievable, maybe not because of the acting though. When we first meet Guy Pearce he is still a prince, as is Firth. There is no stammering, only a comfortable brotherly conversation, the kind you have with a sibling you haven't seen for some time. Later though there is reference to the fact that the Bertie stammers most while in the company of his father or brother, this is sloppy and a mistake that I am focusing on days after seeing the film. A real shame. George V, Michael Gambon: true thespian, great scary dad, honourable king, tough act to follow. Then; frail, confused, lovable. All while sporting a truly monumental beard. Timothy Spall as Churchill, uncanny, if a little skinnier. Although, did they allow lit cigars in the presence of a monarch even then?
This is a very good film, it will get a crop of awards in ceremonies the world over. Not least from the Academy. Firth deserves honours. All the rest of the categories; I think there's better out there.
7 out of 10.
by Lee Power