DailyView: Day 68, Movie 118
I had always avoided The King’s Speech because I could not believe that any movie about a stuttering royal monarch could be anything but dull and pretentious.
I was 100% wrong about that.
This was an amazing, personal, suspenseful movie about a man and his struggles against a lifelong disability that is handled with love and dedication. The film is a masterpiece.
On the brink of war with Germany, King George VI (Colin Firth) needed to deliver a speech to a scared and anxious country, but the stammering that had plagued King George VI his entire life threatened to disrupt his nation’s confidence and put them at the mercy of history.
Before he had become King George VI, Prince Albert had been seeking help with his stuttering. His wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) had discovered an unlikely aid in Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian actor and speech therapist. Lionel’s techniques are uncommon and there is a bond of friendship that forms between them.
Colin Firth is brilliant as the frustrated and ashamed stuttering king. He brings so much anguish to the scenes where frustration and fear is overcoming him and he brings such a passion to scene where he is swearing, singing, screaming… all in an attempt to be able to overcome his stammer. It is such a personal story, one of intense internal strife that I could not believe what I was seeing. I never thought there could be such a thrilling and intense series of scenes concerning speech pathology. Firth is rewarded for his efforts with an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Another powerful performance comes from Geoffrey Rush, whose eccentric Lionel Logue heads right to the heart of the issue, despite Albert not wanting to be as personal as it was becoming. Rush was steady and brought such a good humor and a kindness while being tough with his, at times, unwilling subject.
Of course this was a true story and it is placed in a massive time for England as the Nazis in Germany were becoming a world problem and England was stepping up to take its place as a leader.
Tom Hooper, who was also awarded the Oscar for best director, brings such life to the film, a film that could have easily have been stodgy and dull. He brought the best work out of these actors and found the way to highlight the historic moments with a grace and an air of mystery.
I would never had said that The King’s Speech would be a film that I would have enjoyed, but it was just a wonderfully human time.