Now Showing on Cable: “The King’s Speech”

Now making the rounds on Showtime is 2010’s “The King’s Speech”.

Starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter, “The King’s Speech” is the story of a British Royal with a debilitating speech impediment. He has a nearly paralyzing stammer. He seeks the help of a speech therapist and the two of them work towards his recovery.

The film was the recipient of last year’s Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor (Colin Firth) Best Screenplay and Best Director (Tom Hooper).

The question before us is, was it deserving?

Firth plays Prince Albert, the Duke of York. He has a thick stammer… His words lock up on him. His condition is additionally unfortunate in light of the fact that, as royalty, he’s occasionally called upon to represent the country publicly. The doctors he’s seen are unskilled quacks, with the science and techniques in the area of the time proving to be insufficient. His wife (Bonham Carter) sets him up with a speech therapist (Rush).

Rush treats Firth with a combination of traditional techniques, such as tongue twisters and vocal exercises, and a mild psychiatric therapy. Rush’s Logue needs to not only overcome the King’s difficulties speaking, but work around the obstacles that royalty and propriety put between them. Progress is made incrementally, and the two begin to become friends, but the stakes are raised when Albert assumes the throne. As King, overcoming his impediment is more important than ever.

Especially when WWII arrives.

“The King’s Speech” is a psychological drama… The King’s mental block makes for a unique obstacle, and the dawn of WWII puts pressure on them to resolve the issue. Watching the two men work through it is a captivating experience. The two of them put on an acting showcase, especially Firth, who not only needs to portray a stammerer, but a man carrying an enormous psychological burden due to his royal upbringing. Helena Bonham Carter is fantastic as well.

It’s an excellent picture. I’m not certain I would choose it over Black Swan (personally), but it certainly is a high quality motion picture. And it’s definitely the type of picture the Academy likes to have represent it as “Best Picture” – loaded with great acting, period piece, and personal drama.

A

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32 thoughts on “Now Showing on Cable: “The King’s Speech”

  1. I think I’m of your thinking. It’s a good, solid film with great performances from Firth and Rush, I’m just not sure it deserved ALL the praise it got throughout last year’s award season. It was the “safe” choice for all the awards. In my eyes.

    That’s not diminishing the fact that it is a very good film, which looks beautiful and has a lovely score. Just, well, I though Black Swan was a tad more deserving.

    • Black Swan would have been my choice too, but its certainly an edgier film.

      Hey, not that the Academy has never awarded an edgy film an Oscar…

      And this movie is deserving enough. It was really good. Wont be on my all time faves lists or anything, but it was fine.

      • Exactly that – it was just fine. It didn’t make any waves for me personally. I’m getting bored of awards season and the films that win being just that – fine.

  2. Fogs, I’m sure you must have seen my take on “The King’s Speech” and the entire bourgeoisploitation genre.

    http://awesomelyshitty.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/reasons-why-predator-is-better-than-the-kings-speech/

    “Black Swan” was more deserving of Best Picture than “The King’s Speech.” But you know how it is. A safe choice, something Hollywood understands (e.g. bourgeoisploitation), is going to win every time over something unique/good like “Black Swan.”

  3. Yea same feeling Dan. Very good movie but I wouldn’t have chosen it over several over 2010 movies. It kind of loses some appeal after a rewatch or two. Nonetheless, loved the performances Rush and Firth!

  4. This and Black Swan is the dame argument that could be made for Slumdog Millionaire and Dark Knight or even Wall-e in 2009. The Academy ALWAYS misses the obvious choice!

    • At least Black Swan got nominated. Oscar didnt even see clear to give Dark Night a nod. Oh well, at least Slumdog backlash got us a field of ten.

      I personally dont like Slumdog all that much. At least with Kings Speech I dont feel like a bad movie won – well, SD’d not BAD per se, but I dont think its worthy.

      • I’m convinced that if Heath Ledger hadn’t died he wouldn’t have gotten an Oscar nomination, let alone a win, for The Dark Knight. It’s not the sort of film the Academy likes to acknowledge.

        A lot of times, it seems like the Academy does things out of a sense of obligation, that they’re rewarding certain people because they feel they ought to, rather than because they deserve to. We all know of cases where we think some long-overlooked actor has gotten an Oscar for a performance that wasn’t their best work just because they didn’t get one for their best one decades ago. And I think it plays into films as well… with The Lord of the Rings, for example, I predicted what would happen at the Academy before the first one was even nominated. All three nominated. Only the last one wins. Because it’s too well-done to overlook, but the Academy doesn’t want to treat fantasy as equal to drama… but knew they couldn’t get away with the triple snub. So the last one wins for all three. (Granted, I have been wrong on this from time to time; I never would have predicted a win for Gladiator.)

        I haven’t seen Slumdog Millionaire, but with all the hype surrounding it, I was reminded of the hype for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (which I have seen) and couldn’t help but wonder if it was the same situation — not really a great film, but just better than was expected from that corner of cinema. But like you said, at least the general feeling that the nominations that year were all pretty tepid led to a backlash and a re-expansion of the field afterward.

        In the case of The King’s Speech… I haven’t watched it. I have a serious connection problem there, and I think Brikhaus hits upon it with the “bourgeoisploitation” theory. It’s like the whole royal wedding brouhaha this past year. These guys are all just figureheads. And they’re not even my figureheads. So why the hell should I care? It’d be one thing if this was Churchill’s speech, but it’s just some rich guy whose ancestors were more successful at killing other guys some generations ago, and he’s not even good at killing other guys himself. I’ve got no reason to care about him… he’s just a symbol, and the notion of what he’s a symbol for is totally foreign to me. I think it may have been the film I was least interested in seeing out of all the Best Picture nominees that year.

      • Ok, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – not that great? Blasphemy.

        Slumdog is a case of they tapped a good subject matter. (The poor of India) but then a) they cribbed from too many different overdone sources, namely Oliver Twist, had a bunch of people who couldn’t act (the two leads were Dev Patel and Freida Pinto) and really… I dont think the directing was that great. I’m willing to defend that against any big Danny Boyle fans.

        As to Ledger? I think that that might be overly cynical. The job he did was incredible. I think it would have lit the American movie going public up just as much.

        As to your points about royalty? Well, lets just say theyre obviously valid, but to the films credit? They’re given attention.

      • I might be being cynical about Ledger’s chances; I agree, he did a fantastic job. I just am less certain about the likelihood of the Academy recognizing that under different circumstances.

        And I’ll stand by my assessment of CTHD as not great, blasphemy though I know it may be to a lot of people. I honestly thought it was pretty goofy in places. Really lost me on the fight scenes. 2/5 stars and I’ll stand firm on that.

        Back to the main topic — hey, thread drift! — I’m glad to hear The King’s Speech at least acknowledges that issue.

  5. “The question before us is, was it deserving?”

    In my opinion, not at all. It’s a good film mind you, and the acting is good, but as a whole the film is not very ambitious. The story is one we’ve seen before and from a directional stand point, the film is nothing special. I like it, but it’s not worthy of Best Picture, hell I don’t think it’s even worthy of nominating.

    Still, good review.

    • Aw, I dont know buddy, that might be harsh. Its really good, its definitely worthy of a nom. I just think it was the safer pick.

      Black Swan (not sure that that’s the film you’d have prefered) was edgier. Much edgier.

      I dont think this movie is like a blight of shame for the Oscars or anything, like say, Chariots of Fire…

      • I could have sworn I replied to this earlier, oh well….

        Even with ten nominees, I still don’t think The King’s Speech was worthy. If I did the nominees, it would be: Inception, The Social Network, 127 Hours, Toy Story 3, Black Swan, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, True Grit, The Town, The Ghost Writer, and Shutter Island. I’d also say that Let Me In, The Fighter, I Love You Philip Morris, Kick Ass, and Buried were all better.

        I wouldn’t say it’s a blight of shame, but when compared to the winners in the years before it (The Hurt Locker, No Country For Old Men, and The Departed), it doesn’t hold a candle.

        I should point out that I was notorious amongst those that knew me for my disdain at the thought of TKS picking up Best Picture. When it did, I was pissed. No I don’t hate the flick, I just don’t think it’s anything special. I should also point out that for the last year I’ve had to stomach “adults” (I’m 17 so still viewed at as a kid) tell me I’m wrong and talk about how fabulous the movie was. I can say with certainty film buffs will remember 2010 for the likes of Inception, The Social Network, Black Swan, and to a lesser extent (even though it’s just as good a film as those listed) 127 Hours.

        So…I guess that’s my two cents :P

      • Simmer down kid.

        When you grow up, you’ll understand these things better.

        .

        .

        . BWAHHH HAHHA… Sorry, couldnt resist that. :D I know, I know, I’m a punk…

        I do think you’re being harsh on it though. I think its easily a top five film from last year. Very high quality, with excellent performances. It was an excellent story, “Bertie” is a character to root for, and the actual speech at the end was an excellent film climax.

      • We’re just gonna have to agree to disagree on this one, lol. And in regards to being harsh, I don’t hate this movie, I rather enjoyed it, for what it is. I just don’t think it’s anything more. I think this quote sums it up best.

        “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.”

        -Me, January 30th, 2011

        But like I said, I’ll agree to disagree :)

        P.S. “Simmer down kid” That was pretty damn funny.

  6. I liked The King’s Speech well enough, and it made my top ten that year, but I wouldn’t say it was the absolute best. I still prefer The Social Network (and Black Swan, for that matter), but I have to say that I was impressed with Geoffrey Rush. He was terrific in this movie.

    • Yeah, I guess I’d prefer The Social Network, too… I’m just wondering if I’d rather have that one or Black Swan… I think I have to go with the Swan.

      Rush was awesome for sure. Too bad he was against Bale for “The Fighter”

  7. I would probably give it an A too, and it actually was my favorite film of the year. I did not see Black Swan though.

    The Social Network was a close second, and I think it had the best overall screenplay, and Fincher deserved Best Director hands down IMO. Which in return is why I would have had no problem with it winning Best Picture.

    Great review man!

    GREAT

    • Well, thanks Matt… Always nice to hear people are enjoying the blog.

      Personally Im enjoying the follow up discussion a little more, actually. This one is a really heated debate it seems.

      Black Swan is an awesome film, buddy. You should check into that one. Definitely worth your time. Great flick.

  8. Totally agree with you about Black Swan, Dan. I think The King’s Speech is a great movie, but I would go with Swan as Best Picture hands down. Something about Black Swan kind of sticks with you after you watch it. It’s so messed up that you want to watch it again immediately just to try and absorb everything that went on even though it puts you through the wringer. It’s one of those movies for me that actually felt like an “experience” as opposed to just a film, which doesn’t happen often.

    The King’s Speech is great because of the phenomenal acting and the chemistry between Firth and Rush, but it’s also a safe choice. At the end of the day, it’s a feel-good movie, which I think gave it the edge. I think about the year before when The Blind Side (which is an abomination in my opinion) was nominated for Best Picture and Bullock won Best Actress. The Oscars seem to eat that stuff up. The King’s Speech is a far superior movie to The Blind Side and actually represents the Best Pic title well, but I don’t think it was actually the best of last year.

    • Well. Now. THAT’S a pretty well written response there, guitar girl. I’m reading along I’m like, yeah… yep. Yeah…

      I agree, Black Swan IS one of those films that feels like an event. It feels like a work of art… something that can really move you. You know? Provoke a lot of thought. And they are rare. (Too rare) Be interested to know if you’ve seen “The Tree of Life” (even though I realize that that’s a dice roll as to whether or not someone connects with that one).

      I WOULD have to call you out on “The Blind Side”, though. Cmon now Shelby. “Abomination” is a really strong word there. Not that I love the movie or anything, but cmon… “Abomination”?

      Aside from that, yes. It seems like we see eye to eye on TKS then. :D

      Nice contribution! :D

      • Well, thank you fine sir!

        Black Swan is definitely a film that makes you think after you watch it. There’s so much psychological stuff going on and it’s got that dream-like quality to it. Reminds me a little bit of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (one of my absolute favourite films) in that way.

        I haven’t seen Tree of Life yet, but it’s on my list. Seems like something I would enjoy.

        Annnd… ok, ok, I’ll back up a little bit on The Blind Side (but only a little bit :P). As a movie in and of itself, it isn’t an abomination. There’s a place for sickly sweet heartwarming stories, and it’s not like it was poorly made or badly acted. So in that sense, it’s a good enough movie. As an Oscar nominee for Best Picture though, it’s an abomination. That’s my (poor) compromise haha :).

      • No, that’s about right on the compromise. I was like that’s the type of word (abomination) you have to back up or back off of. LOL

        You backed it up a little, its enough. I just had to call you out given that I agreed with the rest of everything so much.

        I guess I can accept that its an awful best picture candidate… I would mildly counter that it was in the “Field of Ten” era. Sometimes youre gonna have flukes.

        And yes. If you really dig on Black Swan, and Et. Sunshine is one of your faves, then I’d say you stand a good shot with Tree of Life. I’m sure you’ve heard plenty about it. It’s… unique. It takes a LOT of what you take for granted about movies and chucks them out the &$%#ing window. LOL.

        Mallick: Story? Dont need that… Dialogue? Well, ok, I guess I’ll throw in a dash… dont want it to be a “Silent” movie. But you’re getting Dinosaurs. And you’ll like it! :D

  9. When you have 10 nominees, I agree there’ll be some questionable titles, I guess I just felt so “meh” about The Blind Side that it seemed like such a terrible choice to me.

    Whether I love or hate a nominated movie, I want to feel like I get why it was there… that it did something unique or blew people out of the water in one aspect or another. I get the heartwarming “true” story aspect of the film, but it was just mediocre to me in pretty much every respect.

    I’m definitely going to see Tree of Life now. You’ve intrigued me haha. I’ll let you know how it goes and try to post a review. :)

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