THE KING’S SPEECH


2010

DIRECTOR: Tom Hooper

Contains Spoilers

The delivery of the eponymous King’s Speech is a triumph of direction, acting and all the facets of good film making. Colin Firth’s portrayal of Bertie, or George VI as we all know him, is simply brilliant, as was the direction by Tom Hooper and both deserved the kudos of which they received back in 2011, but did the screenplay live up that?

No. The story seemed to be uneven, with two major tones running parallel and neither getting the attention which they deserved. The first was the intimate story of Bertie and his colonial speech therapist Lionel Logue, looking at a man in Bertie who had never really had a friend, and their growing relationship.

The other, was the Prince’s journey to the top job, the King and his reservations about himself and his relationships with his family. Well, he comes across very well, and the favouritism towards the royal line now in power was pronounced, as was the negative take on Edward VIII, who is portrayed well by Guy Pearce, but as  a complete waste of time. The fact that he wasn’t portrayed as an outright NAZI sympathiser is neither here nor there. The tone was established.

The film is clearly biased toward the fact that not only did the right King get the job, but that Edward was barely fit for it. Is this true? I suspect that there’s more to this and certainly when you look at the way that George, the future Queen Mother and Elizabeth are portrayed as being almost whiter that white.

This is a feel good film and it is made as such and that allows us to ignore some of these inconsistencies, but in the end, it seems to touch on a lot and deal with little. The George/Logue relationship is allowed some room to grow but is never fully explored and seems almost half baked, and the political side with Edward, George V, Churchill all seem to be broken down into footnotes with the only theme of these scenes to be to emphasise the positive attitudes levied towards George.

When this film came out I was interested, then it became a global hit and won everything and I wondered if this was fair. Now, after a year has passed and I’ve finally seen it, I would say sort of. Firth is great and the cinematography and general direction is first-rate, but I feel that the award-winning screenplay lets this down a bit, but mainly in the sense that it starts a lot doesn’t seem to take the time fully explore the topics.

Overall I liked it, but feel that is might be bit overrated.

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