The King’s Speech (Tom Hooper, 2010)
Winner of three of the most important Oscars in 2011, Best Picture, Best director (Tom Hooper), and Best Leading Performance by an Actor (Colin Firth) The King’s Speech sure cracked its way into the History of Cinema. Having not seen this movie before the Ceremony of the Academy Awards and loved Black Swan and The Social Network to a degree of including them in my favourite films, I was mostly shocked by the Best Picture and Best Director recognition given to Hooper’s film. It took me almost a year and a half to get to it and judge by myself if once again the Academy didn’t cherished the best film of the year. Just like they did in 2012, this year, with The Artist, a very good film but far from being as great as, let’s say The Tree of Life just to name one. So, I entered into The King’s Speech with apprehension of not liking it or to find that it didn’t deserved the recognition received by the voters of the Academy.
The Duke of York or Bertie (Colin Firth) must talk in public during presences he has to be to represent the Royal family of England. He has a problem of being a stammerer since his childhood. Being the second son of the family always have been his relief because he wouldn’t have to make the famous King speeches. Like the annual one of Christmas among many others. Having tried every specialist and doctor around to stop the stammering, Bertie’s wife (Helena Bonham Carter) approaches a self-taught ex-actor Australian named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to help him. Reluctant at first, Bertie finally accepts Lionel’s help to surpass his tic. The story recalls the birth of this lifetime friendship that united a King and a common man. The chemistry between both actors is extraordinary and the Oscar given to Firth is more than well earned. As for Rush’s nomination it was more than relevant that he earned it. Besides the fact that the plot issue, stammering is less important than the growing of the Second World War that surrounds the King’s speech about the Declaration of War of England to Hitler’s Germany, the convincing performances of the actors elevate this film amongst the great actor’s films like All About Eve.
On the visual form of the film, the cinematography is outstanding and the fog filled frames of the exteriors are as beautiful as the framing of the scenes set in Longue’s office. This is a visually stunning film but also very conventional in its structure and storytelling. Hooper clearly decided to let the actors do the job and let the facts of History entertain instead of taking some liberties and tie up a tighter intrigue like a David Fincher did with The Social Network for example.
However, Tom Hooper attains his goal of picturing this inspiring story of an almost incredible friendship of a common man and a man of grandeur. The relationship that crossed the limits of social classes reminds us that it doesn’t matter how great we are we’ll always have our friends and family to help us if we treat them correctly.
The main criticism towards The King’s Speech would be the lack of depth behind its surface mastery. It felt short as a multi-layered script that could bring us a little step forward in the movie experience just like this year’s The Artist. Nonetheless, both films are enjoyable and entertaining at a high point and they fully endorse the reason why people get into dark theaters, watch a story and have a good time.
The King’s Speech is in fact a very good film and I was extremely surprised how much I liked it. To get back to my questioning if it deserved its Best Picture and Best Director Oscars is a tricky question. Far from being an impostor, it is also far from being the best film of 2010, looking back at the other films nominated: The Social Network, Black Swan, Toy Story 3, The Fighter, Inception, and The Kids Are Alright are equally and in many cases better films overall. It would be interesting to get a ten to fifteen years back and re-watch all these movies to see which ones did past the test of time and stayed strong.