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> Monday, January 10th, 2011 > Lifestyles > Reel Views: The King's magnificent Speech
Reel Views: The King's magnificent Speech
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Published: Monday, January 10th, 2011
The King's Speech (2010)
When King Edward VIII of England abdicated the throne in 1936, he left the monarchy in the hands of his younger brother, Bertie, who was to become King George VI. The proverbial fly in the ointment was in fact a convergence of factors that would make Bertie's life incredibly difficult, including the introduction of the radio, the outbreak of World War II and Bertie's crippling speech impediment. Thus the scene is set for Tom Hooper's 2010 film, The King's Speech.
The film begins with an embarrassing failure on the part of Prince Albert "Bertie," Duke of York, when he gives the closing speech at The British Empire Exhibition in 1925. What follows are the rising frustrations of various speech therapists and their inabilities to help Bertie overcome his debilitating stutter, paralleled with the everlooming dual threats of war with Germany and his brother marrying a commoner and being forced to abdicate. Finally Elizabeth, whom we know affectionately as "The Queen Mum," finds help in the unlikely form of Lionel Logue, an eccentric but effective Australian speech therapist. Inevitably, Edward abdicates, George is crowned king and England declares war on Germany. Lionel and Bertie solidify their unlikely friendship and face their own trials and tribulations as both friends and equals.
A big part of what makes The King's Speech so effective in telling its story is the film's cast of characters. Not since his time as Pride and Prejudice's Mr. Darcy has Colin Firth given such an aweinspiring performance. In each and every scene, he emanates witty and wry - albeit contemptuous - humour. Firth compels the audience to empathize with the agonies of his life from his stutter and difficulties with public speaking to the immense pressure laid upon his shoulders as both prince and king. Helena Bonham Carter is at his side playing Queen Elizabeth. Bonham Carter, far from her usual performances as oddball caricatures, plays a poised, dignified and endlessly patient and loving wife. Stepping into the role of Lionel Logue is the ingeniously comedic Geoffrey Rush, who brings such realness to the otherwise eccentric and goofy character that the audience is inextricably drawn into his every scene. Featured in smaller, yet no less impressive roles are Michael Gambon as King George V, Guy Pearce as King Edward VIII and Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill.
The look of The King's Speech is a sight of cinematic beauty. Coloured in matte and muted tones to reflect the pre-war time period, it also features heavy emphasis on regal reds, golds and blues. One of the most notable aspects of the cinematography is in Rush's placement within the frame, as even when he is the sole focus of the shot he is perpetually off centre as if to never fully step into the spotlight.
The King's Speech is a truly compelling film that must not be missed, particularly if British history flicks are your cup of tea.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars