The King’s Speech

We finally got around to watching The King’s Speech this evening. Mmmm…. It’s good, well-scripted, well-rendered, well-acted, well-filmed but, well, is it that good? This post would have been more critical if I had not first read the account of how David Seidler came to develop the screenplay (which I found humbling and touching) but, even so, I cannot help but feel that this film, like its chief competitor, True Grit, has been over-hyped. And, I ask myself, when should poetical licence stop? This film teeters dangerously on the edge of a sort-of Disneyland Britain, where Winston Churchill is ever-present in Buckingham Palace, much-loved and always on the right side of every discussion. Derek Jacobi and Helena Bonham-Carter dart hither and thither, eyes a-twinkle, witticisms at the ready, corgis yap good naturedly and the future Queen Elizabeth II is already and forever¬†completely obsessed with horses. Bertie (soon to be King George V) even obligingly makes a timelessly witty remark about the lack of connection between royal princes’s brains and their mouths (now, who could they possibly be thinking of?). Oh, well. I saw it, and grumbled all the way home about historical inaccuracies. But for me there was one excellent performance in the film that hasn’t been loudly touted and yet deserves to be: Geoffrey Rush, playing Lionel Logue, an unorthodox Australian speech therapist. In reality, he was successful and became the King’s lifelong friend – that much is completely accurate. Rush turned in an excellent performance, I thought, and it’s a shame that he didn’t receive at least some recognition for that in the form of an award.

1 Comment

  1. Hugo Kijne

    I cannot judge all the inaccuracies you have identified, but there are a couple in your review too. True Grit was not the chief competitor of the King’s Speech, by the time of Oscar night it was clear that The Social Network had a much better chance. An Rush was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar, in itself an award. I’m sure he would have won all best supporting actor awards this season were it not for Christian Bale’s even more amazing performance in The Fighter. You’ll see what I mean when you see that movie.

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