Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Love: The King's Speech

Colin Firth used to be a bit of a limp noodle of an actor, playing the same Mr. Darcy roles over and over again until it seemed he was capable of little else. But as in Tom Ford’s A Single Man, it is his performance in Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech, that’s transformative; for both his disappointing past, and a film that could have strayed into beautiful but boring Weinstein canon.
Dwarfed by the larger than life Winston Churchill and his daughter, the current Queen of England, we learn very little about the stutter-inflicted King George VI in schools across the pond. You won’t find any strict historical accuracy from Hooper’s film either, which speeds the progress along to make George’s (Bertie to his friends) story more compelling in the context of war and Hitler’s fiery speech. But Hooper and Firth do one better, and capture the nature and pure heart of a man from a long line of philanthropists. Hooper doesn’t waste his precious two hours trying to pack in Bertie’s enlightened views on race, his long time military service, or his strength during WWII or the dissolution of the British Empire under his rule. There are no montages, no leaping forward in time, no flashbacks, and little grandiose saccharine displays of emotions. Hooper doesn’t need to. All of these facts, these basics about the man that would become George VI, are in the depth of Firth’s eyes, in the shaking of his voice, and the power of his stance.
Firth, in addition to the Hooper's smooth, relaxed direction allows the film to shuck off the heavy airs of the Miramax Oscar machine so that the audience can genuinely connect beyond the beautiful scenery, focusing on the man.  The subtle and carefully placed classical pieces (by Beethoven in particular at the end of the film) only add to the intimate atmosphere. Add in the quiet hints about the advent of radio and film technology, and the entire picture comes into perfect clarity. At just over 350 words, there’s little else for me to say. The King’s Speech is the real deal; a beautiful, engaging, and sincere film if there ever was one, with one of our greatest actors at the helm of what will go down in history as a flawless performance.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...