I was so pissed last year when Colin Firth was snubbed for his much deserved Best Actor award for A Single Man. The award, instead, went to Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart. Apparently, the Academy thought it was his “comeback” role. In other words, he’s never going to do a role more worthy than this. It’s not like we would award him for playing The Dude again. Little do they know, just watch this year’s True Grit, starring Bridges. Colin Firth was absolutely perfect in A Single Man, but I digress, he is equally brilliant in this year’s The King’s Speech.
It would be an absolute conspiracy if you don’t see him nominated for this role this year. Although, I think he has some honest competition going up against him too. Firth plays King George the VI, in line to the throne of the United Kingdom and suffers from a terrible speech impediment. He constantly stammers and stutters while speaking, and even more so with public speaking. He was not the first in line to succeed his father, but his older brother King Edward VII (Guy Pearce) suffered from some romantic issues that would have brought shame to the royal family, so he abdicated his role to his younger brother Albert (King George VI).
Albert’s wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) enlists the help of many speech therapists, all with their own wacky way of fixing a stammer, none of which work. With one last hope, she takes a leap of faith asking for the help of Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). His ways aren’t so unorthodox to today’s standards, but it was his demands of being able to work in his own workshop and sticking to his rules that makes him such a character. Rush played this role flawlessly. He was confident, caring, light-hearted and always smiling in his eyes. As a viewer, you instantly love his character and the chemistry between himself and the King was like a brotherly bond, which is true to fact, as they remained friends for the rest of their lives after this.
Colin Firth played the King with such subtlety that at first, you might not become enamored by his theatrical talents, but it is in those subtleties, that he shines. The biggest example would be watching him stutter through a sentence in nearly every scene. He pulled it off as if he had actually had his tongue sewed to the bottom of his mouth. I easily became frustrated along with him as he stuttered on a certain word, or sentence. I wanted to spit it out for him, his wife had the utmost patience for him, I’m realizing. The mood was always lightened, though, as he was taught by Logue to just release his frustrations with the stammer by letting loose with the curse words. Can’t get past that sentence? No problem, just yell shit and fuck seven times loudly, then try again!
Helena Bonham Carter, as Queen Elizabeth was also a delight. Carter is a fantastic actress and it’s nice to see that she doesn’t always favor playing the witch, or evil, crazy looking character in a film. She was always up kept and fresh looking in her fur coats and tilted lady hats that she wore so elegantly. She also played Elizabeth with a sharp sense of wit with just the right amount of charm. I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these characters are nominated.
The King’s Speech was directed by Tom Hooper, who up until this point has mostly been known for TV mini series. Now, I wouldn’t say that this was the most beautifully directed film this year, but it is definitely worth noting. The scenes were gorgeously landscaped and filled with muted colors. The walls in Logue’s office seemed to tell a story in themselves as to how long they have been there, listening to speech impediments and success. The gardens they passed through while conversing were lit so perfectly with dense fog to put more focus on the characters and only let you enjoy the scenery when it came into focus. He was very successful with his direction on this film, and I will be keeping my eye out for his future projects.
This film had an excellent ensemble and was just a delight to watch. I have tried and can not think of anything wrong with it. Like I said before, it will be a travesty if Colin Firth is not nominated and possibly win the Oscar for Best Actor. At the same time, though, he will also be competing with James Franco in his solitary journey through 127 Hours, who I have been rooting for, and again, he will most likely go up against Jeff Bridges this year for his True Grit character, Rooster Cogburn. I am happy that there are so many deserving roles this year, but I would hate to see Firth get passed over again.
No matter who the Oscar goes to, you should definitely go see The King’s Speech in theatres. Some will say that they hate these kind of time period pieces, but I used to as well. Maybe it has to do with age and wanting to know more about history. Or perhaps writers and directors are just better about telling the story to appeal to a wider audience. I could care less about a bunch of snobby rich big wigs sitting around sipping tea and complaining about the weather (umm, Cheri, I’m looking at you), but make it about love or compassion and triumph over something and people can really wrap their hearts around that.
I give The King’s Speech 5 “tongue twisters” out of 5
by Angela Davis