The King's Speech (2010)

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You're going to be hard-pressed to find a movie starring Colin Firth that I don't end up adoring. I haven't seen it, but I bet if you sat me down in front of What a Girl Wants, the pants would be charmed right off of me. The man's tight-lipped, moody English gentleman act never fails to set my girlish heart aflutter. Massive crush aside, this is indeed, an extremely lovable movie. It's not perfect. It doesn't feel new or original. And it isn't the Best Picture of the year (even if the Academy feels otherwise). But it is Oscar bait, in the best sense of the phrase. A tortured, sensitive soul finds true friendship while overcoming an adversity brought on by a difficult childhood. He's a faithful husband! A loving father! He looks good in uniform! And when he says, "tits," it's funny, not offensive! Come on, people. What more could you possibly want? (For my part, the answer to this is a scene with Bertie strolling, newly wet, out of a pond after a refreshing dip after an exhausting horse ride from town.)


What a charming little film! What a little gem! I'm glad we've made another cute little British movie that we can take our mom and grandma to see during Oscar season! I wish I had an endless supply of tiny sandwiches and infused tea in silky bags to enjoy while laying supine in my chaise lounge and waiting for the mail. Oh look, Helena Bonham Carter is so delightful in her frilly clothes, and giggles, mingling with the aristocracy! Oh fancy me, Colin Firth looks so dashing in his many accoutrements, trudging through yet another awkward conversation with his darling impediment. Oh my, listen to the rich chamber music! Gracious, all of the sets look so wooden and lacquered and grand! Microphones were very big in the early 20th century! Oh goodness, here's a grandiose little montage of everyone joining together in their efforts to help Colin Firth in his quest to stop speaking like my cousin Tricia did when she was in the 3rd grade and had to see a therapist (but still won the spelling bee!)! Helena Bonham Carter's hat is bouncing all over the place! That window is large! Oh I see, the speech therapist wants to be a Shakespearean actor in his off time! I'm sure this will be highly relevant at the end of the story (it's not). Oh how naughty, the king is dropping the F-bomb. HE HAS A VOICE! HE HAS A VOICE!

Every one of these things is true. The chamber music is rich. Helena Bonham Carter is delightful. Colin Firth looks dashing, and his impediment is darling. The sets are lacquered. The King's Speech is a charming little film, a gem. But seriously...

How many more times are we going to have to sit through a Best Picture nominee that fulfills all of these requirements, and very little else? I suspect that we've each seen one of these lush British films, plunked it somewhere in our top 50 films because it seemed fresh and new at the time, and then rarely thought of it again. My favorite's A Room With A View, because I a) saw it as a kid, b) it has full frontal male nudity in it and c) I prefer the operatic piece it features as its theme more than I prefer the operatic piece featured as the theme in other similar films. A Room With A View is charming, a gem, British, one of my moms favorite movies, best with tiny sandwiches and infused teas while laying on a chaise lounge, full of Helena Bonham Carter in cute frilly outfits and large floppy hats, soundtracked on chamber music, lacquered and wooden, and large windowed. It features a supporting character with an impediment, (giggles) Victorians mingling with the aristocracy, curses, a grandiose little montage, and accouterments. It was also nominated for Best Picture. Yeah, I get it. The story's different, Colin Firth is incredible (he truly is, but he deserved an Oscar more for last years A Single Man, and I don't really subscribe to career wins), it's arguably slightly better than other comparable films, and it's inspiring. The kings son stutters, he's terrible at giving speeches, his father dies, his brother assumes the crown, his brother gets in a questionable romantic relationship that necessitates he seceding from his position, the stutterer assumes the crown and gives a very important speech on the eve of wartime, after spending many hours with a speech therapist.

And let's be honest. Although the speech he gives at the end of the film is a vast improvement over the speech he gives earlier in the film, the number of dramatic pauses he imbeds in the speech while he "finds his words" is redic, and he sounds like what I imagine ABBA must have sounded like in rehearsals while laying down their English cut of "Dancing Queen". They didn't even speak English. It was all about learning words phonetically. Did you know that?

BTW, is Maggie Smith okay, health-wise? I didn't see her in this. I worry.


The King's Speech is a lovely film filled with lovely acting. Actually, every aspect of this film is lovely. My main complaint is that it feels a bit stuffy and it is very "safely" handled. I mean to say that there is nothing very remarkable about the film. There is a charming scene in the movie where Geoffrey Rush is training Colin Firth. The editing and camera work is marvelous here, the comedic acting is on point, but the scene itself is, I'm afraid, extremely cliché. However, The King's Speech IS the "feel good" film of the year. Overall, the movie delivers exactly what you would expect going into it. You know that Colin Firth's King George VI is a stutterer and you know he will overcome it in the end. You know that he will be stubborn and struggle both with the obstacles of his speech impediment as well as internal royal family matters, but in the end, all expectations are met marvelously and you want to applaud. Colin Firth is well due an Oscar for his performance. If you are an anglophile as I am, you will eat this up.