Sunday, January 9, 2011

The King's Speech

It's Oscar season and, in a break with past methods, I'm posting short reviews of films I've seen recently.

The bureau chief has a tolerance for British period dramas that some faithful readers may not share. Let me say that regardless of your like or dislike of that genre, "The King's Speech" is simply a good film. It's a family drama, except that the family are the Windsors, a very non-cuddly bunch of royals. It's also a drama about therapy (that must be a separate genre in itself by now). Prince Albert, "Bertie", (Colin Firth) is the best of the Windsors but suffers from a stutter, an artifact of his horrendous childhood, which makes public speaking torture. This becomes a problem with national implications when he ascends the English throne as George VI after the abdication of his amazingly narcissistic older brother, Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), in 1936.

While Albert was still a prince, his wife (Helena Bonham Carter) hired speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) after a series of quacks with lofty credentials failed to help him. The heart of the film is the relationship between the two men. The pleasures of this film are great acting (Firth, Rush, Bonham Carter), a rooting interest in the success of the therapy, and a port hole into the alien and bizarre life of these strange survivors from previous centuries, the Windsors.


Curtis said...

We saw the King's Speech and really enjoyed it.
Superb acting.

I really liked Restrepo as well.

Bureau Chief said...

I've heard very good things about Restrepo.