Thursday, 3 May 2012

The King's Speech (2010)

Just wanted to take this chance to apologize for taking so long to update the page. I was in California over the weekend and neglected to prepare a post in advance. Then, when I came home, I simply got caught up in the usual chaos that envelops my life.

Like Black Swan, this is another Oscar winner. I must apologize for erroneously saying last time that Black Swan won the award for Best Picture. In fact, The King’s Speech won that award. Natalie Portman won Best Actress and Colin Firth won Best Actor. It’s unfortunate that two films can’t win the award, though—I would have selected these two in a heartbeat. Oh well, no changing the past I suppose.

The King’s Speech chronicles a period in the life of King George VI of England leading up to the onset of World War 2. Played by Colin Firth (remember I mentioned that Oscar for Best Actor?), King George VI struggles to cope with a socially debilitating stutter that makes it nearly impossible for him to speak in front of audiences.

He eventually finds his way to a speech therapist, Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush who makes the most progress in teaching the king how to speak clearly. If you don’t know the history, I won’t spoil it for you, but later in the film Firth is called upon to make a very important speech, meaning that his work with Rush is of dire importance.

The film does a very good job of painting two pictures. The first is of a country on the brink of war, searching for a leader to guide it. The second is of a man torn between duty and fear, unable to overcome a hurdle that has plagued him since birth and rise to a station he never expected nor desired. Here is where Colin Firth shines. If I didn’t know better, I would say he actually has a stutter.

Beyond those points, though, the film is lacking in historical accuracy. Though honestly, if it’s a feature film you shouldn’t be surprised. I recommend you critically examine every feature film after you have seen it, to sort out the truth from the lies. In this case, most of the errors deal with inconsistent dates, people, and places. Second-hand accounts also claim that King George VI was never as casual around Logue as the film suggests. I argue that this is an instance of necessary artistic license; our protagonist needs to be down-to-earth and relatable if he is to garner empathy from the audience.

It is another Oscar winner, so I definitely suggest catching it sometime. The beginning might seem a little slow, but once you bite into the meat of the plot it manages to remain engaging and believable until the end.

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