Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The King's Speech - Movie Review

lll 3/4

Starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Timothy Spall and Jennifer Ehle.
Directed by Tom Hooper.

It may feel like award-bait, but that doesn't mean it isn't really good. Plenty of films aim for award-bait and miss. (Remember The Shipping News?) They must first and always be high quality entertainment, and this suceeds mainly on Colin Firth's remarkable central performance.

We first see Albert the Duke of York (Firth) give a disastrous radio speech in 1925, then fast-forward a few years to where his wife (Helena Bonham Carter, as crisp and subdued here as she is wild in Harry Potter) has sought the help of unorthodox speech therapist Lional Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Seems that Albert (Bertie to his family) has been plagued with a stutter his whole life.

When Bertie's elder brother leaves the throne, Bertie is now King George VI, and in this era of radio, and rising Nazi Germany, the U.K. needs a leader who can speak.

It's essentially a buddy film, but Firth, who was great last year in A Single Man, steps it up here. I can imagine many ways where this could have gone wrong but it never does.

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