Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Kings Speech

Bertie and Elizabeth.
When a film is hyped up and wins as many awards as The Kings Speech (2010) it usually turns out to be some what of a disappointment, for example Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire I could never understand what the fuss was about, a mediocre offering at best. But I must admit that the Tom Hooper directed film is in a class of its own. Its premise is simple; it’s about a man who’s given a job of work to do and is ill-equipped to carry it out! After the death of his father George V in 1936 and the abdication of his brother Edward V111 who expressed a desire to marry the American double divorcee Mrs Wallis Simpson, Albert Duke of York, known as Bertie to his family, reluctantly became King George V1. During this period in history was the advent of what we know now as mass media in fact George V was the first monarch to address his “subjects” via the radio and there lies the problem. Bertie was incapable of giving any kind of speech without badly stammering and with the outbreak of war looming the new King, along with his wife Elizabeth, would be required to become figureheads with a need to regularly address the nation. Various speech therapists were tried without success until Elizabeth approaches an unorthodox Australian therapist called Lionel Logue, the rest is history.

Coronation Day 1937.
Unless you have been living on Mars you will be aware that The Kings Speech was nominated for 14 and won 7 British Academy Film Awards, three of which were well deserved acting awards. Colin Firth, for the second year running, won Leading Actor for his brilliant portrayal of a King coping with a serious disability, Geoffrey Rush, who dominates ever scene he’s in, for the role as Logue and Helena Bonham Carter splendid as Bertie’s wife Elizabeth. There is no doubt that the strength of this movie is in the acting, the best of which involves the interactions between Firth and Rush. This successful British film will hopefully do very well at the upcoming Oscars and more importantly has put bums on seats at the RBC cinema well into May!

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