What a great way to start the year properly by watching a brilliant movie – if you still can’t decide what movie to watch during your New Year’s holiday, The King’s Speech is a much recommended marvellous choice.
The movie shares about the friendship between the Duke of York – Albert (Colin Firth) and Lionel Logue (acted so effortlessly by Geoffrey Rush), his speech therapist. After the death of George V and after Edward VIII abdicated his throne to marry his mistress Mrs. Wallis Simpson, Albert reluctantly became the King of England who took the name of King George VI. The key issue for the hesitation was Albert’s stammering. Through this, a friendship between Albert and Lionel was formed – and with Lionel’s help, the new King overcame his fear.
The storyline may seem very simple – but herein lies so many wonderful elements of the movie. The witty lines, the controlled and restrained emotions of the Royal Family, the contrast between the down-to-earth but assertive Lionel and the aloof-but-insecure Albert, the wonderful acting – they all provide the cinematic gems of this movie. The movie also confirms of the emotional awkwardness of the Royal Family – there is a scene after George V passed away, when Edward cried and slumped on his mother, while she stood frozen, unsure of what to do next with arms awkwardly suspended in mid-air, devoid of any maternal emotions or warmth – just genuine bewilderment. Another example is when Albert became King George VI, his two daughters, Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II), had to curtsy to greet their own father.
All of these elements make this movie so rich, so rewarding and fascinating – Colin Firth certainly should be awarded an Academic Award for his performance here especially after his mighty performance in A Single Man. There’s one scene in The King’s Speech of Albert sobbing – afraid of becoming a king as he convinced himself that he was just a naval officer – having survived endless emotional bullying by his older brother and father due to his stammering. I personally think that it was Colin Firth’s finest moment in the movie. Geoffrey Rush‘s acting ability is an unquestionable quality – he embodies Lionel Logue and personifies the name very well. Helena Bonham Carter who is casted to play Albert’s wife – the ‘Queen Mother’ – proves once again in the movie that behind every successful man, is a strong woman.
One thing that I regret of this movie is the noise that people around me made at the cinema – this is the kind of movie where I wish I could capture every word spoken and every emotional nuance shown. I would hunt the DVD when it is out. A gem indeed.
PS: I checked Wikipedia as soon as I got out of the theatre and found out that Lionel Logue was born in Adelaide and that he studied at the University of Adelaide before he moved to Western Australia and then onwards to Europe. Yay, an Adelaide connection!