Reviewed Jul 11, 2012
kiion Thomas Clarke’s review:
On the 6th January 2011, a highly personal British film about English History was released to massive critical acclaim. Who would have thought that an intimate telling of a stammering King would become such an engrossing and enjoyable watch. This it does however. From the start this film feels very British, British cast, British storyline, British locations, and British heritage all mixed in together. The thing with 'The Kings Speech' is, that any other way in having this film produced, would not have brought about the same feeling from audience members after the film had run its duration. American or any other nationality actors, would not have been correct for the parts within this film. Having an English man play an English King allows for accent and the styling to fit smoother. Winning four Oscars; Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Original screenplay, proves that this film was produced in the highest of standards, to receive these credentials proves that the British Film Industry is as strong as any other.
The Kings Speech is a true story that is set in 1930's England, where the young Prince Albert, later King George VI, suffers from a constant stammer. Being in a role where active public speaking is a necessity, the young prince seeks medical help. When no options seem to work, Albert takes an unorthodox approach and visits Lionel Logue, played expertly by Geoffrey Rush. With un standard methods of curing this condition, the two men over time become friends dealing with the stammer within this period. This is the main basis of the film, with the death of King George V, the abdication of the throne by King Edward VIII and the outbreak of World War II, being entered into the film at key points in history, running alongside the main narrative. Instead of solely relying on one of these subjects, has allowed the film to be highly entertaining and fully enlightening into an interesting section of Britain's history.
This film has an excellent cast of British actors present within the roles. This is great to see within this film as it showcases to the audience how strong British acting talent is in comparison to American film. Colin Firth plays the title role of this movie with such strong acting credentials that the role seems to fit completely within his acting range. The maintaining of the stammer throughout the film must have shown true commitment to the role, it is done so perfectly that at all times the audience should belief that it is present in the person not just the character. After many semi serious and comedy supporting roles it should be counted as a nice change to see Colin Firth portraying a lead role. The Oscar that he was awarded is fully deserved for this role, as he portrays it so well.
Like previously stated Geoffrey Rush's performance as Lionel Logue is expert throughout. The ability he had to play off Colin Firth in such a way, allowed for an easy translation of the friendship that these two men had for each other through to the audience. With the uncanny ability to portray both frailty and his power in the same scene, Geoffrey Rush was able to portray this person in a way that made him seem second to the King but at the same time on the same level. Helena Bonham Carter played Elizabeth, the Kings Wife, a role that is such a change from her stereotypical performances. This will allow audiences to see Helena in a much different light, and as such will bring across the fact more clearly than ever that she can act very strongly, within this film she portrays her character in such a way that it hopefully make audiences wish for her to play more roles like this in the future.
This film was strong on other levels than just acting however. The make up within this film was used to such a degree that all the characters within the movie were all able to all look like their counterparts. Like the similar genre film 'The Queen' in some cases these actors looked uncanny. Along with make up, the costume design within this film was also very strong, achieving high success. With all the characters dressed in the certain fashions from the time, the film was able to bring across to the audience these events occurred within the past. With these elements combined the vision was brought across highly successfully, and as such allows the audience to gain a stronger connection to the narrative.
Did this film deserve its acclaim? The answer to that is a resounding yes. Through many different elements it shows that British filmmaking is just as strong as that that is found anywhere else in the world. Colin Firth portrays his character perfectly, allowing for true emotion to be brought across to the audience. Throughout this movie, the feeling of sadness for the King will be felt by audience members, this will allow for the movie to become more engrossing to watch. Firth achieves this through his acting, showcasing himself to be one of the best actors working from Britain today. Other roles within this movie are portrayed perfectly by the respective actors, Guy Pearce and Timothy Spall are both extremely strong. This helps the narrative to be told correctly. The art design and make up allow this era of England to be represented on screen correctly. Fans of similar movies such as 'The Queen', 'Elizabeth' and 'The Iron Lady' will enjoy this movie fully. Although the subject matter, to many will seem a bore, with all the correct elements in place this movie is enjoyable to watch.