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Written by / 5/24/2011 / No comments / , , , , , , ,

THE KING'S SPEECH

year: 2010 rating: ***1/2
Having won the big Oscars: best picture, best director, and best actor, the simplicity of this film will surprise you. Playing like a knighted KARATE KID, it’s a feel-good teacher/student movie with style, class, and superb performances: A remarkably channeled Colin Firth, as the stuttering/stammering Prince George, can’t give a speech – a medium especially important in the age of 1930’s radio. This is a predicament his wife, played with subtle charm by Helena Bonham Carter, seeks aid for in failed stage actor Lionel Logue, who’s garnered a successful reputation in speech therapy by Geoffrey Rush, basked in an earthy, streetwise, guru-like aura, portrays Logue with a gentle, yet thorough, patience for this virtuous new student, who, despite his important lineage, is downright stubborn and pigheaded. The best parts are the initial “courtships” between George (nicknamed “Bertie”) and Logue, the first not wanting help and the latter keeping at it. The actual lessons, once underway, are shown in a creative montage. Then a peripheral element involving George’s flaky brother, newly crowned King Edward, takes away from the personal mainline story but matters more after Edward, choosing love over hierarchy, hands his title to George: who now needs a teacher more than ever.

The climax is the big speech, as England wages war on Hitler’s Germany. And when George, with his "coach" by his side, sits before a looming microphone: it feels like one of many cinematic underdog-versus-antagonist bouts: but with a bit more social, and a lot more historic, overall significance.
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