Monday, February 21, 2011

King’s Speech

This devilish device will change everything. Formerly the king had only to look good in uniform and keep going straight in the saddle. Today, we are entering people’s homes and are socializing with them. Our family was brought to the basest profession of the world. We are actors! – says King George V in one of the scenes in the movie “King’s Speech” to his son Albert. He talks about the radio. This invention changed forever the way in which the authorities and monarchs communicate with citizens and subjects. And the times were tough – the film “King’s Speech” is set on the eve of World War II – and the need to communicate with the public was huge.

Albert never wanted to sit on the throne. His older brother David was a healthy, strong man, so Albert could be confident that he’ll always live in the shadow. What’s more, from his childhood he was told that he was worse than his brother, and in addition he had a nasty flaw: he stammered.
So when David began an affair with an American, Bessie Wallis Simpson, twice divorced and began to threaten that he will be with her till the end of his life, the whole court began to perceive that Albert will have to get out of the shadows. Government and parliament left no doubt and made it clear that David would have to choose – the wife or the crown.
David became briefly King Edward VIII, but soon resigned, giving the throne for love. His place was taken by Albert stutterer, who took the name of George VI. (It’s worth mentioning that he was the father of the current Queen Elizabeth II.)

Albert and his wife Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother) has long sensed what was coming and took (especially she) ever more vigorous steps to overcome Bertie’s limitations. In the end they found the eccentric Lionel Logue who, though without any scientific preparation, reached considerable success in working with people who, due to various experiences, had language difficulties.

This film is not for those who like fast-paced action and special effects.
It’s actually a filmed theater piece. The crux of the story is the relationship between Albert and Logue. The first is a spitfire who doesn’t stutter only when he is cursing. The second is the unfulfilled actor mocking the court labels, confident of his abilities. Their relationship isn’t the easiest, they argue and sometimes offend each other, don’t talk to each other for weeks, to finally see that what unites them is not only a master-student relationship but also friendship.
Hard work of them both gives an effect. The film does not suggest a typical Hollywood finale. Indeed, the work of the two men proves to be effective, but Albert doesn’t get rid of his ailments. He’ll have to live with it.

Despite the whole theatrical entourage, the movie goes smoothly. In this movie you can see how much you can play with your face. Colin Firth, who plays Albert, is sensational. When he is trying to give a speech to the nation, it’s not him who’s playing, it’s his face. The camera shows clearly every grimace, every muscle movement. There is no doubt that he’s terrified that he is about to deliver the most important speech of his life. Can he say anything without stammering? Will he prove reliable to his subjects?

“King’s Speech”, directed by Tom Hooper, screenplay: David Seidler, prod.
Australia, USA & United Kingdom, starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce. The film received 12 Oscar nominations. Results will be announced on February 27. 

Movie trailer
Movie official site

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