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The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech

What she said:

She

As if having a speech impediment isn’t bad enough, try having a debilitating stutter when you’re supposed to stand-out as the voice and face of the British colonies.  Not fun I tell you, not fun.  And that is what The King’s Speech aims to show us.  Colin Firth plays George “Bertie” VI, English royalty who struggles day in and day out with a terrible stutter.  Firth does a fantastic job of convincingly capturing the role—you can sense his fear when he’s forced to make public addresses, his frustrations, and also his embarrassment.  Helena Bonham Carter plays his loyal wife, who never gives up hope that someone will be able to help her husband.  She finds that someone in Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush, a commoner who teaches George some important lessons.  He helps him to improve his stutter in dramatic ways, but in addition to that also shows him how to open up and be a friend.

The movie, somewhat predictably, deals with the overarching storyline of George’s stutter, while at the same time showing the conflict of tradition and apprehension of impending war.  It is nice to see George and Lionel’s friendship develop, and feels good when George begins to find success in overcoming his impediment.  The cinematography of the film seems a bit forced.  Camera shots are intentionally off center, I guess to bring some excitement to straightforward dialogue, but I instead felt that it was a bit distracting. 

The King’s Speech can move a little slow and the plot is predictable, but it is the performances of an all-star cast that really helps the movie to shine.  I’m glad I didn’t see it in the theater, but it was worth renting.

Thumbs up.

What he said:

He

I was not excited to see this movie whatsoever.  It’s not that I thought it looked bad, I just don’t get excited about dramas very often. I’m the same way when it comes to books too. Even just the thought of reading a biography bores me. I mean that literally.

Even if I end up liking the movie, I don’t really pop dramas into ye old DVD/Blu-ray very often. They just don’t grab me in the same way fiction does. I usually prefer escapism. I like to feel as if I am going on a journey and not just being given a recap of a series of events.

I also get annoyed by some of the seemingly random things they tend to change from the real life events. For example, Queen Elizabeth is 14 years older than her sister, yet in the movie it seems to be 3 or 4 at most. I just see no real, logical reason for doing things like that and it bugs the hell out of me. It would not have hurt the story to keep it that way.

That being said, I definitely enjoyed and appreciated this movie very much. It was very well done.

For starters, I found it to be a very authentic looking film. Sometimes things like this can get overlooked if the movie isn’t some action flick loaded with special effects. However, there’s something to be said about a movie that simply looks very much like the era in which it is supposed to take place.  I thought all of it was fantastic; the costumes, locations, and the whole look and feel of it. I felt the same way about both this and Zodiac(review here).

The acting was top-notch as well. Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter lead the way in this tale of King George VI’s unconventional rise to power. I had absolutely no idea his journey to the throne was filled with such controversy. A big part of the equation was his speech impediment, which in those days had some absolutely insane methods of treatment.

The portrayal of the characters is something I also really appreciated. Here we have a story about English royalty, yet they managed to bring a sense of normalcy to some larger than life people. I hate public speaking. Hate it. I would never take a job that required large amounts of it. I can only imagine how much that feeling would be magnified by a legitimate condition such as a severe stutter.  But despite being a royalty, the movie manages to make the characters very relatable. King George had to do things I never will, but he had some very normal flaws.

I also have to point out Geoffrey Rush’s performance. It was brilliant. I don’t know if his interpretation of Lionel Logue was anything like the real life counterpart, but it sure was entertaining. He was a very fun and quirky, yet character man.

It did not feel like a big or grand movie, so the Academy Award surprised me a little, but it was still quite good.

This movie review was given the He said, She said seal of approval on May 11, 2011.