The King’s Speech – Review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on March 3, 2011 | 1 Comment
PRODUCER – Iain Canning, Gareth Unwin, Emile Sherman, Peter Heslop and Simon Egan as co-producers.
DIRECTOR – Tom Hooper
WRITER – David Seidler (screenplay)
CAST – Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter
MUSIC – Alexandre Desplat
The King’s Speech, which almost swept most of the top 2011 Oscar honours, is a testimony to what the Academy loves most. Stories of human perseverance, grit and overcoming of great odds to let the inner brilliance show. Stories of battling fears and tapping that beast of courage that all of us but few manage to tap, to fight our demons, both within and without.
No doubt, such stories make for great drama and inspiration. The Tom Hooper directed film; The King’s Speech mellows this combination of rousing drama and stirring inspiration with the story of King George VI’s battle with his speech impediment.
Based on true facts, the film borrows from reality and draws from imagination to present the Duke of York and his young family as any other ordinary one. The Duke, Bertie, as he is fondly called by family, stammers. Years of medical intervention and stoic support of his wife have been unable to help him overcome his disability that has grown into a source of shame for him and disappointment for his father and his subjects. Until Lionel Logue enters their lives.
Bertie’s predicaments unfold as he gets deeper into speech therapy with Lionel. A veteran with having handled soldiers affected by the WWI, Lionel’s methods are unorthodox. But he wins Bertie’s trust and begins to get over his barriers. But will Bertie be able to get over his own?
Tom Hooper keeps the narrative straight and simple. He steers completely clear of bombast or drama, letting characters and relationships evolve. So Bertie’s moments of outbursts are honest but not passionate. So the striking of friendship between the patient and doctor is subtle and not only because one is an Englishman. And Bertie’s final triumph is not impeccable speech but a brave token to his having perseverance and slowly growing self-belief.
Colin Firth’s Bertie is at once vulnerable and a man of strength. He does not fuss over his disability but lives with its pain that shows in his eyes. He is a man who has not let it become self-pity hence is still able to shower tender love on his wife and children. And he is a man at once proud to never give up and humble enough to keep trying till he succeeds. Helena Bonham Carter plays Queen Elizabeth with equal parts of sense and sensibility. She is more than just a supporting wife, she completes the picture of contrasting relationships and the world of royalty. Geoffery Rush’s Lionel is the perfect foil of nerve and vision for Bertie to overcome himself.
Told with restraint, sensitivity and flair it is a moving tale of facing our own fears, of letting ourselves flower. The line, ‘The only obstacle in your path is you’ must have been written for this beautiful film.