★ ★ ★ ★
Where to start? Well, I think Academy Award winners and nominees might be a good place to freshen up the new stock of reviews to come from the back log. Why not start here with last year’s Best Picture winner The King’s Speech? Sounds like a plan to me.
This was one of the few films last year I actually made it to the theater for. I hate to say it, but with Netflix, I have become increasingly lazy with the idea of driving to the theater and paying $7 to $8 to watch a picture, but some films are worth seeing on the big screen. After the well-referred reviews and Oscar nominations this film garnered, I figured it’d be worth the admission. In the end, it was.
The film revolves around King George VI’s (Colin Firth) reign as monarch of the British Empire beginning in 1936 and primarily focusing on his rule through World War II. Bertie, as he is referred by friends and family, assumes the throne following the abdication by his elder brother Edward VIII. Though well brought up to be king, the newly named monarch is worried about his noticeable stammer. Having been to many specialists for correction over the years, he is quite reluctant to try another; however, at his wife’s behest, he begins sessions with Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), a speech therapist with unique methods. Their tumultuous relationship as “doctor” and patient, result in a lasting friendship and new found courage for the king.
Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Writing, Directly for the Screen, this is a solid film. Firth and Rush are brilliant in their respective roles, as is Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen Mother. The direction by Tom Hooper is stagy and textbook, but works for the picture which is driven by performance. A bit tailored for its eventual Oscar glory, being that it is exactly what the Academy likes to see (historical, period piece, drama), it is still an interesting telling of a truly inspiring story.