Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Oscar watch: The King's Speech

What might be considered an historically trivial true story enlightens the masses in the The King's Speech, which explores the relationship between Prince Albert "Bertie", later to become King George VI (Colin Firth) and his speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Bertie has had a stammer since childhood, the possible reasons for which are explored beautifully in this film, and through the years he tries to correct his speech impediment which is becoming more embarrassing as his duties as a public figure increase. A sort of last-ditch-effort is attempted when his supportive wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) contacts Logue. Bertie and Lionel's relationship begins complicated (don't the best ones always?): in turns Bertie can be condescending and belittling to his "inferior" Logue, and the next be so completely vulnerable to him that he stammers excessively. Eventually a friendship is struck, but not without it's ups and downs-- and doubts.

As a film, the pacing is perfect, the performances top notch and the final scene, where Bertie must address his country on the eve of entering World War II, is exhilarating and a fulfilling conclusion to the flim. It was refreshing to see positive relationships portrayed.

Oscar predictions: Colin Firth will be nominated and win the Oscar for Best Actor. He was nominated last year for The Single Man, but did not win. The Academy often likes to reward careers, not just specific performances (although, in this case, he deserves to win for The King's Speech anyway). Geoffrey Rush will be nominated for Best Supporting Actor. I don't think he will take the prize (Christian Bale is getting a lot of buzz for The Fighter this year), but he is a definite contender. Lastly, the screenplay will be nominated in the Best Original category. This is also a tough call; it is a contender but I don't know if it has enough splash to beat out the likes of the complex Inception.

The King's Speech
In theater's now, Rated R for language, 118 minutes