by James Garcia Jr.
At first glance, the new motion picture The King’s Speech appears to be the type of film that only long-winded critics would wish to spend hours discussing, and where we might expect to see advertisements of the film adorned with the dreaded header: in select theaters. I was one who thought that, and if you are one of those as well, I ask you to give me a moment of your time, because we could not be any more wrong.
The King’s Speech is based on the true story of the Duke of York and the terrible speaking problem that practically debilitated him for his entire life. When King George V passes away, older brother, Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) becomes King. However, wanting to marry a twice-divorced American Socialite more than being King, he abdicates, reluctantly elevating his stammering younger brother (Colin Firth) to the throne. Taking the name King George VI, with Great Britain standing before the shadow of the Second World War, (Firth) battles to find his voice with the assistance of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).
Weeks ago, this appeared to me to be one of those smart, Oscar-worthy films that no one would want to see outside of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Yet with every week, this film seems to be generating more and more positive buzz, and opening in more and more theaters. Billed as a historical drama, I can tell you that this heart-warming and magical film is so much more. My friend and fellow author, Nicole Hadaway, mentioned that the film had “no dull moments and no wasted scenes” and I found her assessment to be right on target. Typically, Firth and Rush are great in everything that they do; but here we have an awesome and understated performance by Guy Pearce, usually stealing the spotlight in whatever film he’s in; and another from Helena Bonham Carter, playing the wife of King George VI, who seems born to play the role. I have found that Carter has been doing quite a few quirky roles of late that have failed to impress me. In this, however, I found her performance quietly powerful, conveying more with a facial expression than others could do with words.
In fact, the entire film is brilliant. It has humor, wit and powerful moments by not only the main cast, but the supporting actors as well that will bring tears to your eyes more than once. When the screen went dark for the final time, I was actually hoping for another scene. Our audience actually clapped along with the credits and this rarely happens during a film that I have attended. This film is easily the best film I saw in 2010. If there was something else, I certainly cannot remember it now.