Friday, March 4, 2011

Speechless Over "The King's Speech"


Perfect casting. Inspiring story. Heartbreakingly moving. Beautifully crafted.

What more can I say about this incredible movie? Well, I'll give it a try.

From the opening moments when my heart ached for this dear man trying desperately to utter just a few words in front of a crowd of thousands, at his father's insistence, I was hooked. From that first scene until the very end I loved every single minute. No exaggeration. This is a wonderful movie. If it had not won the Oscar it would have been a crime.

But it did win the Oscar! And so did Colin Firth, whose portrayal of Bertie, the future King George VI, could not have been more poignant. He made me want to cry and laugh and cheer, sometimes all at once! I was able to completely leave behind every previous notion of Colin Firth as a confident and articulate actor, and truly feel that he was trapped behind such a profound stammer that the words simply had no way out of his mouth. The nominations of all the principal actors were well deserved. Geoffrey Rush was endearing as the speech therapist, Lionel Logue, and watching the friendship blossom between these two men, the first friendship Bertie had really ever experienced, was just beautiful and utterly believable.

I think the portrayal that fascinated me most, for personal reasons, was Helena Bonham-Carter's Elizabeth, Duchess of York. I have no memory of King George VI; he died long before I was born. But I am very familiar with his wife. Growing up, I was very much a "royal watcher". On July 29, 1981, I got up at 6 a.m. to watch Charles and Di's wedding, and again in 1986 to see Andrew marry Fergie. Two years later, I stood in line for hours in a park in Summerside, PEI, to shake Princess Diana's hand. I watched every documentary and tv movie on the royal family that I could find. So I am very well acquainted with the Queen Mother, and I think Helen Bonham-Carter must have channelled her to give such a pitch-perfect performance. The accent and inflection in her voice was exactly like the Queen Mother; the way she carried herself was perfect; I swear she even had the same twinkle in her eye that I remember catching so many times in photos or on film. I had no trouble believing that this was Elizabeth, Duchess of York, 75 years ago. Bonham-Carter's portrayal made the love story between Elizabeth and her husband all the more lovely. I've grown to think of royal marriages as somewhat cold, but the movie showed theirs to be anything but. This was a woman who adored her husband, and whose heart ached for him as he struggled to speak.

I am thrilled that Tom Hooper won the Oscar for Best Director. He truly created a masterpiece. Every shot was beautifully framed. The colours, the costumes, the spare yet opulent (oxymoron?) sets. It all contributed to a wonderful atmosphere, one that set the viewer up to be inspired. When the newly crowned king finished his first wartime speech at the end of the movie I wanted to stand up and cheer. I just felt so full of triumph! What a way to start a war!

I don't know what else to say. I am speechless. If you haven't already, go see this movie.


1 comment:

  1. I would love to but I'll probably wait for the DVD. You make me want to see it even more now!