King’s Speech, Crowned in Oscar Gold?

Movies and Television

Finally interested in one of the Oscar buzz movies enough to venture out and drop my $11 to see it. This time it’s the King’s Speech.

King's Speech. © 2010 Weinstein Company

Man Crush Alert

I love Colin Firth. I know many who love him from the Bridget Jones movies, to others he will always be the bestest Mr. Darcy. Ever!

For me, I think it was both Love Actually and What A Girl Wants that did me in, made me just love him.

Colin Firth’s got the charm, the wit, the humor to go along with the gravitas to play just about anything, including future king nee Prince Albert, who suffers from a speech impediment. (Sorry, link was too easy.) He also has the talent to bring real emotional depth to a role without hamming it up or leaving the set a big old gnawed mess of crap.

You Sassy Commoner You

Geoffrey Rush already has Oscar gold but not having seen the competition, I can’t call it. What I can say is that I think Oscar got this one right:

  1. By nominating everyone. Still ticks me off that Michael Sheen was not even nominated for The Queen; without him opposite Oscar winner Helen Mirren, not much of a movie.
  2. Firth as lead and Rush, supporting. I thought un-nominated James McAvoy was more of a lead in Last King of Scotland vs. winner Forest Whitaker, but whataya gonna do.

Rush played the “feisty, gonna be an equal with the landed gentry and higher ups” speech therapist without making a mockery of the trope. He played it as a person with a genuine interest in helping people, so you can believe the friendship that developed between the two. Plus he’s got the timing for the jokes.

Rush, King's Speech. © 2010 Weinstein Company.

Keep her in costume

Helena Bohnam Carter is gonna win an Oscar someday I guess. The chemistry and emotion was there, her support of her husband, dislike of Mrs. Simpson, the weight of the royal mantle. All I can say is she was very good here, looked great. So let’s keep her in costume and not fugging the red carpet.

For those who’ve never cracked a history book

When you meet little princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, you should already know what’s coming but for those that don’t, some mangled history:

The reason King’s Speech matters is not just that it’s based on a true story, but one that hit at a critical time: 1) the beginning of World War II, when Great Britain was the closest thing to a superpower and 2) the dawn of the media age.

In the States it’s always the “if there had been TVs back in the day, we don’t vote for FDR” argument. Here it’s King George V (Michael Gambon) who opines about the “wireless,”  movie news reels making being King an actor’s job. [Insert Ronald Reagan joke here.]

Would a world on the brink of war take comfort and leadership from a babbling stutterer? Doubt it. As his brother King Edward (Guy Pearce) #8 shirks his regal duties to run around with a married (gasp!) divorcee (double gasp!) in an affair that threatens to knock the Earth right of its axis, Albert to-be-George VI has to get good with the speechifying.

Final Snark: a little vignette of history that I found entertaining, surprisingly funny and pretty damn good.

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  • Movie was great. When Bertie was describing how his childhood nanny withheld food from him, in song, no less, my brain exploded. Brilliant. Several great moments like that.

    • OMG the singing, great moment Jason. Poignant, moving w/out being whiny or too over the top. And the cursing, the little bursts of profanity.. just cracked me the hell up. Also liked the non-credentialed Rush character getting his due, particularly in this time of faux experts, bullshit gurus and consultants. His shtick worked. Period. Hadn’t seen most of the other Oscar bait, but gotta think this will make a strong showing.

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