PG Cooper: The King’s Speech Review

Posted: January 30, 2011 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

Release date: December 10th, 2010

Written by: David Seidler

Directed by: Tom Hooper

Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and Michael Gambon

The King’s Speech is one of those movies that I didn’t have any real interest in at first. I hadn’t seen any of the trailers and what I had heard before it’s release didn’t really interest me. But then the reviews came in and praised the film on all levels. The movie began to do well on the awards circuit, including Golden Globe wins and recently, the most Oscar nominations of any film this year. So naturally, I became quite interested. But now that I’ve seen it, does the movie deserve the praise.

The film tells the story of Prince Albert (Colin Firth), who would go on to become King George VI. Albert is the Duke of York, and while he may be good at his job, he has one major problem to overcome; he has a stammer. His wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) seeks out a speech therapist to help Albert with his stammer. She finds Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an unorthodox Australian speech therapist. While Albert is originally unsure of Lionel, he decides to stick with him after realizing Lionel’s methods, while strange, are quite effective. The challenge for the two raises as England enters its darkest hour.

Colin Firth as received unanimous praise from critics ever where. He has won several awards, including a recent Golden Globe for Best Actor. I can say the praise is well placed as Firth is fantastic. Colin Firth brings the desperate Prince Albert to the screen very well, and becomes a character we as the audience really root for. You sympathize with his plight and want him to overcome his stammer. Yet despite this, the film never makes the mistake of making Prince Albert too good a human being. Outside of his stammer, he is flawed and at times makes decisions and says things that you will disagree with. Firth also does very well with the stammer, something that could have come off as silly and forced. In short, Firth makes the character feel like a real human being. A good person, but overall flawed and with several things he has to dwell on.

Firth is backed by an also heavily praised supporting cast. Geoffrey Rush is especially fantastic as speech therapist Lionel Logue. His character is just as deep as Firth’s, but both are very different. Logue, while intelligent, is also a very fun person and someone with a tremendous sense of humor. He’s a very fun character to watch, and his scenes with Colin Firth are the best scenes in the film by far. All the other actors do a very good job, despite mostly limited screen time. Helena Bonham Carter is good as Elizabeth, and I really enjoyed Guy Pearce as Prince Edward.

As much as I loved the acting, the story of the film has some problems. First and foremost, there’s some severe pacing issues. There are times, especially in the first half of the film, where the movie can be boring and at times loses you. With that said, there’s a lot of great scenes, most between Firth and Rush. The dialogue is also good, with a fine mix of dramatic stuff, as well as some comedic relief. In fact, I was surprised that the film had as much comedic relief as it does. It’s not side-splitting hilarity, but there is some humorous dialogue and one seen in particular that really made me laugh out loud.

The film is directed by Tom Hooper, someone who has mostly done TV films throughout his career. This really shows here as the direction, while certainly not bad, rarely rises above just being competent. The cinematography, music, editing, it’s all kind of bland. It’s never bad, but it’s never anything special either. The positive to this is that since Tom Hopper didn’t take any large risks, there isn’t any big failures either. To be fair, I did see this film a mere hour after I had seen 127 Hours, which was directed brilliantly by veteran Danny Boyle. So to jump from a veteran like him to a relative newcomer may not be entirely fair. Overall, I wouldn’t call The King’s Speech a poorly directed film, just a competently directed film.

To go back to my question earlier, is The King’s Speech deserving of all the praise and awards. The answer is sadly no. Apart from the acting, there isn’t anything truly special about The King’s Speech. It’s definitely a good movie, but I can’t say it’s a really great one. I had fun with it, it was an interesting story brought to life by some brilliant performances. On the whole it’s a good film, but it isn’t really among the year’s best.

Rating: B+

  1. CMrok93 says:

    Was it good? Yes. Was it so good to win Best Picture over The Social Network? Not at all. This is a good film, but it’s almost like I’ve seen this time and time before, so it had less of an effect on me than others. Good Review!

  2. […] were respectable best picture choices in my opinion. I was less fond of Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech winning best picture. Not that those films are bad, I just don’t find them best picture […]

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