Watched Jan 10, 2011
Andrew K’s review:
A must see! For the first time, I am making an effort to see the films that are getting the most Oscar buzz; and, for the most part, they have not exactly been feel-good movies (Black Swan, 127 Hours, Rabbit Hole, etc.). It was nice to go see a superb movie with some good laughs, marvelous acting, and, what I would consider to be, mild drama. This film delivers.
Let's get this out of the way: Colin Firth is amazing! To be able to imitate a speech impediment that includes a stammer and a lisp is amazing to me. Not only that, but he portrays both the strength and weakness of the character very well. The chemistry he shares with Geoffery Rush is excellent as well. They are great playing off each other. Timothy Spall has a great cameo as Churchill, and Guy Pearce is fine as well, this being the second movie recently that I wasn't even aware he was in (the other being Hurt Locker).
I do have a couple complaints. First, oddly, I couldn't get the feel of this being set (mostly) in the 1920's. I don't know what it was (or wasn't), but it didn't feel like a period piece. Second, there were some truly odd camera angles that were occasionally distracting. A lot of off-center shots, too. Lastly, I don't think we got a good enough understanding of who Bertie was. For example, in his first meeting with Lionel, he is extremely pompous and harsh. He obviously is viewing himself above the commoner, but does he do that with his staff, or is it just a defense mechanism? And why does he seem so hesitant towards his daughters? I don't know, maybe I was just so intrigued by the character that I want to know more about him...
Anywho, from what I've seen (haven't seen The Fighter yet), I'd say it will be a tight race between Firth and James Franco for best actor, but given his amazing career, I'd like to see Firth win. This movie has a wonderful story and perfect performances. Highly recommended!