The Madness of King George ★★★

1995 Cannes Film Festival (In Competition)

Although frequently witty in its irreverence, it’s decidedly less so for being so pleased with itself what what! Hawthorne commendably goes all in, never winking to the audience during his ruddy-faced rants, and Hytner does a fine job disguising its theatrical roots. Still, I must take issue with its view that mental illness can be cured by sheer discipline. Sure, we only witness a single episode, and his medical diagnosis is in dispute to this day, but it’s nonetheless irresponsible to suggest that he was only suffering from porphyria. Though I feel overly sensitive taking the bait, it speaks to the film’s glibness that the king’s madness is offered up only as a plot point.