Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen what is (right now) a dark horse Best Picture candidate, and it is called The King's Speech, a (fact-based) story about the man who would become King George VI (Colin Firth) and his serious problem with stuttering. But since he initially has no real desire to become a ruler, he believes it's no big deal. His wife, the soon-to-be Queen Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter, back in Howards End babyface mode), thinks otherwise, and hires a speech specialist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to help her husband out.
I'm going to go ahead now and say go ahead and give Oscar nominations to the following people: Director Tom Hooper, Screenwriter David Seidler (though it appears the script was heavily rewritten), Composer Alexandre Desplait, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, and Colin Firth.
Ah, yes, Colin Firth. He hooks you in the very first scene of the movie, as he, at this time only known as the Duke of York, has to give a speech in front of a packed house at Wembley Stadium. Firth shows you the heartbreak of the moment by using nothing but his eyes. Makes you want to root for the guy to work through his issues and get over the fact that he, through a series of events, is going to become king... I thought it was a stellar performance, topping the work he did last year in A Single Man...
Some might argue that Geoffrey Rush is just putting on another variation of the "crazy renegade" character that he's played before, but I'd say that's not really the case here. He's a guy who's quite confident in his skills but also completely awed (and somewhat embarrassed) by the fact that he's literally been handpicked to help royalty out... it's a fun performance from him...
In fact the script is quite witty and includes some bon mots that apparently were actually spoken by George and Lionel... even still, it's very good work here by Seidler (and whomever else)... I was also impressed with Tom Hooper's work (didn't see John Adams), particularly the way he and DP Danny Cohen frames a lot of the shots...
Yes, this is yet another British period piece that's gunning for awards but to me this movie really isn't like other pieces, mainly because this is a surprisingly spry story of an unlikely friendship and isn't really concerned with class issues... I certainly thought it was a lot of fun... and that the R-rating that this movie got is TOTAL and COMPLETE BULLSHIT.
BTW, if you watch Nurse Jackie be on the lookout for a barely-recognizable Eve "Dr. O'Hara" Best in a small but pivotal role...
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