It’s one of those rare profoundly moving movies that leaves me believing in who we are again.
It’s such an inspiring story, so well acted, so seamlessly made, that I’d encourage anyone who likes GOOD movies to see it.
King George the VI, Queen Elizabeth’s pop, was never supposed to be king. His brother fell madly in love with a Nazi-sympathising American divorcee and abdicated the throne, leaving Albert to assume the throne as the first-ever English king to rule while his predecessor was alive, well, and no longer ruling due to conundrums of his own making.
Problem: Albert, who never should’ve become king, had a profound speech impediment.
Bigger Problem: He was the first truly modern king expected to make regular live radio speeches, including the first wartime monarch’s national radio address.
So, you can see, the whole speech-impediment thing was quite a big deal.
Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth turn in amazing performances, with Firth’s being a virtual LOCK on the Oscar this year. So compelling and moving. Helena Bonham Carter’s acting is also of stellar quality. Everyone’s is.
Tom Hooper’s direction is effortless. With music used very sparingly throughout, the silences become powerful — reinforcing every design concept about the power of negative space.
It’s the silences that choke the future King George VI that so clutch at us and break our hearts. It captures fears and insecurities we all can relate to, and everyone involved in this movie understood how powerful those fears/insecurities can be for each of us.
It didn’t need big sets, flashy editing, dramatic music, or overbearing light work.
It needed to simply exist on screen as nothing more than it is — a story about a man called to be greater than he thinks he can be, at a time when nothing less than succeeding will do, which requires his overcoming life-long struggles and fears in the face of everyone’s pity and lowereed expectations.
In those silences, and the muscles twitching in Colin Firth’s neck and his trembling lips as the words fail to form and he can’t “just spit it out”, we all identify with moments we’ve frozen, failed, and simply fucked up.
It is a rare and beautiful movie, lacking of pomp and circumstance, belonging in the class of simple and inspiring films in my little collection, like You Can Count on Me, The Station Agent, and The Visitor.