The King's Speech reviews

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Postby flipp525 » Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:12 pm

Respectable/steady career might be a better way to describe it.
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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:00 pm

By today's rather low standards, his career has been distinguished, but, yeah, it's probably too lofty a term to apply in his or anyone else's case this year.

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Postby Reza » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:37 am

Firth has been good in a number of films on the small and big screen but has he really had a 'distinguished' career? Maybe I don't understand the word 'distinguished'. I've heard it as a description of Olivier's career or Bergman's career.....but Firth's? However, I wouldn't mind him winning at all as a consolation to losing last year.

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Postby Big Magilla » Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:28 pm

I saw this with a mixed audience, that is to say, young, middle-aged, and old.

The audience "liked" it as I did, but I think the only ones who really "loved" it were those who are more used to watching PBS than going to the movies. Perhaps that's a description of the group at the Toronto Film Festival where it got its first ovations, as well.

The director, Tom Hooper, is best known for his TV work and that's how he directs this very low-key film.

Colin Firth is good as "Bertie" aka Prince Albert aka George VI and Geoffrey rush is good as his therapist, but I really liked Helena Bonham Carter and Jennifer Ehle as their wives. The scene where they meet is probably the most genuinely moving in the entire film.

Guy Pearce and Eve Best are good, as well, as David aka Edward aka The Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson aka The Duchess of Windsor. Others, though, seemed to be just going through the motions in imitating the famous people they were playing: Derek Jacobi as the Bishop of Canturbury, Anthony Andrews as Baldwin, Timothy Spall as Churchill, Michel Gambon as George V and an unrecognizable Claire Bloom as Queen Mary.

It belongs, if at all, on the lower halves of ten best lists, which is where it has been mostly showing up. Colin Firth will likely win the Best Actor on the basis of his long, distinguished career, but there is now way this is going to win Best Picture unless all the Oscar voters get their maiden aunts to fill out their ballots.




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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:53 pm

Sabin wrote:Perhaps elderly isn't the correct term, but 60's and 70's easily.

I'm so glad you cleared that up. Now excuse me while go take my mid-afternoon nap. :p

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Postby Sabin » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:46 pm

(Big Magilla @ Dec. 12 2010,5:43)
Sabin, how old were these "elderly" patrons? They would have to be in their 80s or 90s to have lived through and remembered first-hand the events in the film. On the other hand there are a lot of us a few decades younger who remember the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and have seen their story many times, but not the "other side" of the story as pertains to Bertie/George VI. That's what interests most of us.

Perhaps elderly isn't the correct term, but 60's and 70's easily. It had nothing to do with chronological proxy to the events. I doubt they remembered first-hand the events in the film, but they do remember first-hand when more made movies were like this perhaps. They laughed uproariously throughout the film.
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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:43 pm

Sabin, how old were these "elderly" patrons? They would have to be in their 80s or 90s to have lived through and remembered first-hand the events in the film. On the other hand there are a lot of us a few decades younger who remember the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and have seen their story many times, but not the "other side" of the story as pertains to Bertie/George VI. That's what inerests most of us.

Guy Pearce is about the right age for playing Edward/Duke of Windsor at the time of his abdication, but Colin Firth is ten years older than his "younger brother". Maybe Pearce was cast when Paul Bettany was supposed to play Firth's part. He would have been a more age appropriate choice.

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Postby Sabin » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:30 pm

There is thuddingly little to say about this film. Like 127 Hours, you've already seen a superior version of this film in the trailers. I didn't much care for this film. The [mostly elderly] audience I was with ate it up.

...the parallels between King George's speechlessness and Hitler's verbal power is saved for the third act. It is a weirdly apolitical film.

...you will not see a more artlessly flatly shot film this year. Hooper positions his actors in the lower corner of the frame and as scenes go along they center. All I can say is I guess that's one way to do it.

...Geoffrey Rush will doubtlessly be nominated for this, his dullest performance in recent memory. I like Rush. He's a ham, but at times he's a very enjoyable one. I seem to be in the minority in thinking his performance in Pirates of the Caribbean is his all time great. Here, he treats this character so reverentially that he scarcely exists. Helena Bonham Carter provides wifely support but has nothing to do really.

...it's Firth's show and he does a good job. He's better in A Single Man, but he does clearly tie his stammer to some internalized trauma that the script pays the faintest of lip-service to. The moment the treatment begins, we have a montage, a heart-to-heart here and there, and then he's cured. It's a very obvious piece of plotting, but I will say that Firth does elevate it quite a bit.

...Guy Pearce is supposed to be older than Colin Firth. I don't get that.

...I think the only sure bet this film has for a win is Alexandre Desplat's score. I'm not entirely 100% sold on a Firth victory, but the score is an Oscar-y knockout.

...nothing feels worse in an audience than the ship sailing and you're not on board. These patrons loved the shit out of it. My sister and I did not. We took it in and shrugged it off.
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Postby The Original BJ » Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:28 pm

The recent film The King's Speech reminded me most of is The Queen...which I liked considerably more than this. Both films are about the complicated relationship between a monarch and a subordinate that, over the course of the film, grows into something of a friendship. Both films are a little bit weighty but also a little bit witty. And both films are interested more in the back-and-forth banter between individuals than highly dramatic plots. (A memorable phrase from The Queen even pops up here: "It's ma'am as in ham, not mah'm as in...")

The Queen wasn't a revolutionary movie, but it succeeded a lot more for me because of its contemporary relevance -- the film used a recent historical event (Princess Di's death) to examine the changing nature of a very old institution (the monarchy) in the modern era. For me, The King's Speech is not about much more than George VI's speech impediment and how the king works to overcome it. Yes, there's some historical context here -- the period leading up to World War II -- but overall that feels like unavoidable window dressing rather than the thematic backbone of the story. As a result, I found The King's Speech fairly thin script-wise...

...and the direction didn't it elevate it any. Tom Hooper has definitely mastered the shot-reverse shot, but is that really the stuff that Best Director nominations should be made of?

The cast does solid work, as you'd expect, though I've liked these performers a lot more elsewhere. Firth has a fairly baity role -- all that stammering! -- which he at least brings off with a fair amount of restraint; you can tell the king is working very hard to control his speech, but you don't feel that Firth is pushing too hard at all. Still, I found his work last year in A Single Man infinitely more powerful and affecting.

Geoffrey Rush is thankfully in subdued mode -- in which he can indeed be a good actor -- rather than hamola mode -- which sometimes can get the better of him. But he's in a position not unlike Michael Sheen in The Queen, where he's clearly got the less dominant role, yet he's on-screen so much it's hard not to argue that he's a co-lead. A supporting push for him wouldn't annoy me as much as one for Julianne Moore, but it still doesn't really seem fair to the year's genuine supporting actors.

And as much as I've liked Helena Bonham Carter over the years, I didn't think she had all that much to do here. I'd thought her a strong Supporting Actress front-runner before seeing the film -- she's amassed a decent resume of critical and box-office hits over the years, something that can often lead to an Oscar win -- but I would be quite surprised if she triumphed for this. (Then again, she does have a role akin to Connelly's in A Beautiful Mind, and we know how that turned out.)

I imagine Eric will be as put off as he thought he would by this one, and, though I found it decent in its middlebrow average-ness, I can't say I'd want this to win Best Picture either. The question I have is whether or not this can tap into the zeitgeist at all, which is usually a prerequisite to taking the top Oscar. At the moment, I'd lean towards no -- something like The Social Network, which DOES have real relevance to today's era, has already made a pop culture impact that I can't imagine this film ever will -- but this early in the game, you never know.

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Postby Reza » Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:09 pm

Village Voice

The King's Speech: How Therapy Saved Monarchy
By J. Hoberman

published: November 24, 2010

The King's Speech
Directed by Tom Hooper
The Weinstein Company
Opens November 26

A picnic for Anglophiles, not to mention a
prospective Oscar bonanza for the brothers
Weinstein, The King’s Speech is a well-wrought,
enjoyably amusing inspirational drama that
successfully humanizes, even as it pokes fun at, the House of Windsor.

The story­shy young prince helped by irascible
wizard to break an evil spell and lead his nation
to glorious victory­is a good one. Directed by
telefilm tyro Tom Hooper from veteran
screenwriter David Seidler’s more-or-less-factual
script, a cast of Anglo-Aussie stalwarts hit
their marks with professional aplomb as Bertie
Windsor (Colin Firth), the future George VI and
father of England’s present queen, overcomes a
crippling stammer and his natural priggishness
thanks to the eccentric ministrations of
unconventional, adorably déclassé, transplanted
Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).

The tension between repressed Bertie, an
unwilling sovereign, and irrepressible Lionel, a
failed Shakespearean actor­or, better, between
Firth’s controlled fury and Rush’s relaxed
hamming­is played out in the moviemaking:
Nostalgic for the old Miramax formula, The King’s
Speech treats clipped British understatement with
the percussive, mildly distortive wide-angle
close-ups that characterized the hearty
Australian comedies of the Strictly Ballroom era.
The movie is not entirely irresistible, but it
would be difficult not to empathize with Bertie’s
painful plight, particularly in comparison to the
glib bonhomie of his fellow royals: Michael
Gambon as overbearing father, King George V;
Helena Bonham Carter as solicitous helpmeet, the
future Queen Mum; Guy Pearce as feckless elder
brother Edward VIII, who abdicates the throne to
marry American shady lady Wallis Simpson (Eve
Best, a near ringer for the society vixen). The
cast is rounded out by Derek Jacobi as the fusty
Archbishop of Canterbury; and Timothy Spall who,
vainly trying to upstage Rush, camps his way
through the role of Winston Churchill.

At one point, George V complains that the new
invention of radio has effectively transformed
England’s royal family: “We’ve become actors!”
The movie’s key historical fact is the
mass-mediated merger of monarchy and
showbiz­along with the emergence of the wireless
as nationalism’s new tribal drum. There’s a sly
moment when Bertie is wistfully transfixed by a
motion-picture newsreel of the epoch’s most
potent orator, Germany’s new chancellor, Herr
Hitler. Now there’s a fellow who doesn’t hold
back! (George Orwell was only one of many who
believed that the hooplah inherent in a
constitutional monarchy saved Britain from domestic fascism.)

Big historical events take a backseat as The
King’s Speech puts its protagonist on the couch.
A natural psychoanalyst, Lionel compels the
prince to visit him daily in his ramshackle
lower-middle-class lodgings and insists on first
names. It’s Pygmalion in reverse, with Lionel
playing a democratizing Henry Higgins to Bertie’s
aristocratic Eliza Doolittle. He’s the shrink as
demystifier. Therapist and patient bond over the
old king’s death, with impertinent Lionel going
so far as to suggest that bad parenting
effectively tied Bertie’s tongue. A more
elaborate Freudian explanation might link
Bertie’s retentive-expulsive speech patterns to
his unconscious equation of words with feces. In
any case, Lionel trains Bertie to sing and dance
and curse his way into a radio address, and, as
in The Queen, if to less ironic effect, the
monarchy is here preserved by a clever commoner.

The grand finale has the whole nation listening
as invisible Lionel “conducts” the King’s
declaration of war in ’39­hard-won eloquence
discreetly goosed by Hooper’s use of gradually
swelling background music. That’s the official
Rocky moment, although the movie really finds its
voice in those therapy sessions, when it bids to
be a feature-length episode of In Treatment.


latimes.com




Colin Firth's royal pains




For the actor, his physically and emotionally
demanding role in 'The King's Speech' has been difficult to shake.

By Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times

November 25, 2010

Reporting from New York ­ Colin Firth, playing a
monarch with a debilitating stutter in "The
King's Speech," found something unusual happening
during shooting: He began experiencing symptoms
in parts of his body not associated with speaking.

"At the end of some days on set I would get
headaches, and a few times I did something weird
to the nerves in my left arm and couldn't move
it. I still don't know what it was," Firth said
of his leading part in the highly anticipated
royals drama, which opens in Los Angeles on
Friday. "It sounds like an actor trying to talk
about the rigors of the role, but it really was the strangest thing."

Filmgoers might not be surprised to hear that
Firth's performance took on a physical cast. In a
turn as demanding as it is subtle, the actor
plays Bertie, the future King George VI,
afflicted by a stammer so crippling he can't
speak publicly. It's a malady with geopolitical
consequences, as he is urgently needed to
reassure a British public anxious about Hitler's
rise and Nazi aggression. But the stuttering also
has an emotional aspect ­ Bertie is the product
of a repressed upbringing and a friendless adulthood.

Director Tom Hooper's film traces an improbable
real-life relationship that develops between
Bertie and a quirky Australian speech therapist (
Geoffrey Rush). "The conceit of the film is to
take a man and isolate him as much as you can
possibly imagine ­ and then set up a situation
where a friendship has to be achieved in spite of that," Firth explained.

Even months after it finished shooting, the movie
continues to play havoc with Firth's well-being.
Stepping into a SoHo restaurant the day after
getting off a flight from London, the actor
shakes his head and, with characteristic
drollness, says, "I'm too old for time zones."

He should be used to traveling. The British actor
finds himself hopping planes and oceans promoting
an acclaimed awards-season role for a second straight year.

Best known in this country for romantic comedies
such as "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Love
Actually" (and, to a devoted female audience, Mr.
Darcy in a 1995 British television adaptation of
"Pride and Prejudice"), the 50-year-old has
recently found himself on a new acting level.
Last year, Firth's performance as a grieving gay
professor in "A Single Man" earned him a lead
actor Oscar nomination. He's all but assured of
repeating the feat with "The King's Speech."

Firth finds the sudden attention a little
surprising. "Someone asked me this morning [about
my acting]: 'Did you get better?'" he recalls
with a slight laugh. "I've just carried on doing what it says in the manual."

Of course there's no blueprint for becoming a
successful leading man, and even if there was,
Firth has hardly followed it. The actor had
always sought serious roles but has often ended
up as the guy chasing the girl in romantic comedies.

"I'm more comfortable in dramas than in comedies,
and I think there's a certain irony that for so
many years I was involved on the comedy side,"
Firth said, his easy eloquence, wavy auburn hair
and fashionable plastic glasses confirming his
reputation as the thinking-woman's heartthrob.
"Some of them I'm really happy to have done. But
they're not necessarily movies that I would go to."

Although his new role never devolves into bathos,
Firth's Bertie doesn't shy from the more brutal
manifestations of his disability. "Tom pushed me
not to be afraid of how much stammering we were
going to listen to," Firth said, his voice
occasionally veering into a nasal register that
is used to such stark effect in the film. "There
would be days when I'd say, 'You want that much,
you really want me to do that?' And he'd say, 'We have to go a darker place.'"

Hooper, for his part, says "Colin was concerned
there would be too much stuttering and the
audience would find it unwatchable. My feeling
was [Bertie's condition] had to be profound."

Hooper says that Firth was the rare actor who
could pull off the tricky feat of imbuing a
remote monarch with heart. "One of Colin's great
gifts as an actor is that he's nice to the core
of his being, and you can see his tremendous
humanity even as he's playing someone who's not
emotionally available," Hooper said.

Firth also pored over hours of audio recordings
and photographs of King George VI to prepare to
play the historical figure. Yet the result is
hardly a starchy period piece but an inspiring
and often quite comic crowd-pleaser; the movie
has played extremely well at the Telluride, AFI
and Toronto film festivals, the last of which
gave the film its top audience award.

"The emotional response we're getting even from
people who couldn't care less about history or
English people is almost inexplicable," Firth
said. "The only way you can even try to explain
it is that the friendship and isolation and
parental-heartbreak aspects chime all the way
through the story." (Rush has a simpler
explanation: "I think that the Americans might
connect just on the level of therapy," he quipped
at a recent Los Angeles screening. The actor
later told The Times that "it was exquisite to
watch someone go so deep inside a character in a
scene and then, when the camera shut off, be able
to stand back and objectify and analyze that character.")

Of course, there's also the fact that royals
continue to fascinate the public on both sides of the Atlantic.

Just a week before the movie's U.S. release, the
point was proved again with news of the
engagement of Prince William, who happens to be Bertie's great-grandson.

Firth said he actually had little interest in the
British monarchy ­ "the first book I read about
the royals was for this movie" ­ and for years
has mostly been fascinated primarily by rock stars.

The actor, who had a peripatetic childhood in
England, Nigeria and the U.S., said it became
clear to him as he shot this film how unappealing a royal's life could be.

"This movie debunks the idea of a privileged
upbringing," Firth said. "I wouldn't change
places with that guy no matter how many countries are in my empire."




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Postby Reza » Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:13 am

Precious the film obviously slipped through the cracks. Has happened a number of times in the past. But you obviously get my drift. Actually I'd like to see, for once, a film winning the Oscar that deals with the Palestinian issue where the Israelis are the 'villains'. Now that would be a refreshing change.



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Postby Precious Doll » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:31 am

Reza wrote:
Precious Doll wrote:
Reza wrote:It appears to have narrowed down between The Social Network and The King's Speech (so far) but what about Foreign Film? Wonder if Romania will submit Gruber's Journey? It deals with the Academy's favorite subject.

The Romanian entry is If I Want to Whilst, I Whilst, which is a gritty contemporary drama that is unlikely to make the final five.

The poor Romanians. Somebody needs to advise them that the Holocaust is big with Academy members. Oh well, there's always next year I guess !!

Not always. A few years ago Hungary submitted Fateless, one of the best films of the last decade to deal with the Holocaust. No nomination, which would have been very deserved, was forthcoming.




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"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Postby Reza » Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:09 am

Precious Doll wrote:
Reza wrote:It appears to have narrowed down between The Social Network and The King's Speech (so far) but what about Foreign Film? Wonder if Romania will submit Gruber's Journey? It deals with the Academy's favorite subject.

The Romanian entry is If I Want to Whilst, I Whilst, which is a gritty contemporary drama that is unlikely to make the final five.

The poor Romanians. Somebody needs to advise them that the Holocaust is big with Academy members. Oh well, there's always next year I guess !!

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Postby Precious Doll » Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:03 am

Reza wrote:It appears to have narrowed down between The Social Network and The King's Speech (so far) but what about Foreign Film? Wonder if Romania will submit Gruber's Journey? It deals with the Academy's favorite subject.

The Romanian entry is If I Want to Whilst, I Whilst, which is a gritty contemporary drama that is unlikely to make the final five.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Postby Damien » Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:59 am

Reza wrote:It appears to have narrowed down between The Social Network and The King's Speech (so far) but what about Foreign Film? Wonder if Romania will submit Gruber's Journey? It deals with the Academy's favorite subject.

There's also the heartbreaking family drama from Holland, "Papa Noel Did Not Leave Us New Clogs This Year," and Poland's unforgettable piece of humanism, "Krystoff Fell Down The Well."
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell


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