The King’s SpeechFeature Film |
A well-acted tale of reluctant royalty marred by overwrought direction and an uneven script.
There's something almost courageous about the lack of immediacy of Tom Hooper's The King's Speech. How invested are contemporary audiences supposed to be in an uptight 1930s monarch and his efforts to overcome a speech impediment? In the film, the future King George VI, known to his family as Bertie (Colin Firth), is treated badly by his father and brother, in part due to his stammer. His wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), seeks out the services of eccentric speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), who must break down Bertie's emotional resistance to help him overcome his disability. Soon Bertie is forced to assume the throne due to the abdication of his brother (Guy Pearce), and, with England on the brink of war with Hitler, the need to improve Bertie's speaking skills becomes more pressing. Firth is very convincing in portraying Bertie's impairment, his self-doubt, and his suppressed anger, and Bonham Carter is effortlessly regal and charming. Hooper's broad direction--filled with overly emphatic fish-eyed close-ups--and needlessly fast-paced cutting do the actors no favors. The script (by David Seidler) is uneven, and Bertie's on-again, off-again belief in his teacher, explained by the occasional clumsy epiphany, soon grows wearying. Despite Firth's empathetic turn and Bonham Carter's luminosity, the film doesn't make the case that this story is more than a mildly interesting footnote in British history.
|The King's Speech Trailer|