Haven’t blogged in a while, and just have to mention that I watched The King’s Speech a few weeks ago!
Obviously I enjoyed the movie very much and I plan on watching it again, or better still, buy the DVD (the film makers should give me brownie points in the form of unlimited movie passes). I had been waiting for 6 months for this movie to come to Singapore, and wondered if not for the awards hype, would it have even reached these shores? Hence, it’s marvellous how the numerous awards and accolades it received helped boost the movie’s exposure and number of screening days.
What a wonderful performance by Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter! And although many reviewers describe this movie as a bromance between the Duke-then-King George VI (Firth) and his speech therapist Lionel Logue (Rush), I thought Carter’s performance as the Duchess-then-Queen Elizabeth subtly but resolutely shone alongside the brilliance of the two men. And the story itself! An inspiring tale of a man’s eventual success in overcoming his stammer. It doesn’t really matter at all that said man is supposedly privileged given that he eventually became the King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth as well as… [pausing to take a breath] … Emperor of India, King of Ireland and Head of the Commonwealth. If anything, being a stutterer and a monarch did not quite go hand in hand:
Duchess: [Using the name “Mrs. Johnson”] My husband’s work involves a great deal of public speaking.
Lionel Logue: Then he should change jobs.
Duchess: He can’t.
Lionel Logue: What is he, an indentured servant?
Duchess: Something like that.
Oh yes, I’m also gushing over the script’s understated humour and irony under the pen of writer David Seidler (who also had to overcome his own struggles with stammering). By understated humour I don’t quite mean the F-word bit (which I won’t give away) although that was undoubtedly comic. I mean gems like the one above and this one:
Lionel Logue: [as George “Bertie” is lighting up a cigarette] Please don’t do that.
Duke: I’m sorry?
Lionel Logue: I believe sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you.
Duke: My physicians say it relaxes the throat.
Lionel Logue: They’re idiots.
Duke: They’ve all been knighted.
Lionel Logue: Makes it official then.
So, even though I think Christopher Nolan’s Inception is awesome, yay to David Seidler for winning the Oscars for Best Original Screenplay.
And then there are the camera angles and the style of the film: loved the off-centred style of filming, especially during dialogues between Logue and the Duchess and that between Logue and the Duke. The latter’s scene showcase the first meeting between the Duke and Logue – where in the world did the production crew find that quirky-looking wall in Lionel Logue’s office?
This music-phile is also smitten with the soundtrack. Kudos to composer Alexander Desplat. And the production’s choice of an unhurried Allegretto from Beethoven’s 7th Symphony played over the climatic wartime speech by the King – at the end of it, I had the urge to get up from my cinema seat and applaud!
So what if this historical drama is not entirely accurate as some commentators say? I think the point of any movie is whether it stirs the hearts of the people who watched it. To me, The King’s Speech is movie magic with style and inspiration.