Wednesday, January 12, 2011

REVIEW: The King's Speech

What perfect timing for Ted Williams, the homeless, golden-voiced ex-radio-broadcaster (I hope you've heard of him by now), to get all of his sudden fame, giving me something relevant to relate the success of The King's Speech to. Here's the thing: a great voice will get attention. Just look at how Hitler convinced an entire nation to follow him. Look at President Obama's success due to his eloquent speaking abilities. Ted Williams got famous in less than a week because he sounds just like John Tesh and has the charm of Jesus. Luckily, King George VI (Colin Firth) was already famous because of his thriving family tree; otherwise his stammer would've gotten him nowhere.

I'd consider myself somewhat of an ignorant American when it comes to history (foreign history especially), so I knew very little to nothing about the events portrayed in The King's Speech. One could say that the film is predictable, which I would hope to be the case if it's based on a true story, but with little knowledge of King George VI's speech impediment being elaborated on in any other film (that I'm aware of), it makes this film less predictable for viewers, like myself, who aren't aware of this story.

The story is simple. The British King George V is dying, and he asks for his son George VI (they refer to him as Bertie actually) to deliver a speech to a massive crowd. The only thing is that his stammer makes the entire occasion an embarrassment for everyone. Good thing he's second in line to inherit the throne. Regardless, his wife (Helena Bonham Carter) enlists the help of a lower-classed speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), whom Bertie does not get along with at first. When his father dies and his brother Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) takes over as King, the Shakespeare allusions (mostly to Richard III) soar left and right, but you'll have to watch and listen closely to catch all of them. Since Edward lives the partying lifestyle, his "highness" becomes too much for him to handle and he eventually passes the throne to his little brother. It is then that the show begins to intensify.

See, at the time World War II was just beginning, and there was no time for Bertie to pussyfoot around and make Britain look bad. With the help of Lionel, he learns more than just how to talk properly, but also about the value of respect, power, and most importantly, friendship. As the two work together we get to see Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in what may be both of the actor's best performances, although I have seen many other amazing roles from the two.

Some may complain about what may seem like dragging scenes in some spots, and if so, then I assure you, Yogi Bear is the perfect film for you. The film is all about the patience required to achieve greatness, and it's all worth it in the end. Honestly, I don't know anyone I wouldn't recommend this to. The R rating is all for a few incidents where Bertie drops the F-bomb a good number of times, but in a very humorous manner, so don't worry about anything else unexpectedly R-worthy. The King's Speech is incredibly educational, surprisingly intelligent, beautifully shot and scored, wonderfully directed, and perfectly casted. I can't say anything bad about it. It deserves anything it wins this awards season, and I'll say it loud if I have to.