by Ishbel Beeson
It’s that time of year when cinema goers are spoilt for choice as the biggest names in the industry coax us in from the cold in an attempt to get a few trophies under their belts. The run up to awards season always means there is something worth leaving our central heating for and “The King’s Speech” is no exception.
Colin Firth already seems a dead cert to take home the Oscar for ‘Best Actor’, an award he was nominated for last year and would greatly deserve. He plays King George VI who suffers from a terrible stammer and who turns to a controversial speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), for help as public speaking is a primary part of his job description. The audience comes to fear George’s every word seemingly as much as he does, and the film certainly lifts the lid on the psychological factors which cause someone to develop and maintain a speech impediment. The fact that he is the King to whom thousands of Brits looked for reassurance during WWII almost seems like a side story for character development: really this is the tale of one man, laid bare, battling his demons.
The entire film is beautifully shot with fabulous costuming and is gripping and sentimental throughout. Helena Bonham Carter seemed a controversial choice to play Queen Elizabeth (who would then become the Queen Mother) and although she is more subdued than normal, she still carries an air of eccentricity adding a spark to the film which would be missed without her. Geoffrey Rush too provides many laughs and moments of tenderness as the King’s Australian speech therapist, transforming the film into the most sophisticated ‘bromance’ to date.
It seems apt that just months before the wedding of the century we are handed another film which portrays the Royal Family as normal and down to earth (much like “The Queen” did in 2006). But whether you are a Royalist or not, this is a good old fashioned British period drama, something which we do best, and which deserves to be successful once the ‘nominations are in’.