Today: May 25, 2024
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King's Speech, The

After finally laying the memory of Mr Darcy to rest with his Oscar
nominated performance in Tom Ford’s A Single Man, Colin Firth continues
his perfect run as Prince Albert, Duke of York in Tom Hooper’s near
faultless take on the true story of Albert’s battle with a speech
impediment and subsequent friendship with his eccentric therapist Lionel
Logue (Rush).

Prince Albert delivered the closing speech at the British Empire
Exhibition but unlike those who’ve been public speakers for their entire
life, the experience was an ordeal for him and the listeners. With each
stammer, each stutter and each need for a reassuring look that
heartbreakingly never comes, is totally immersive, moving while never
asking for sympathy. Albert assumes that he’ll never have to take the
embarrassment of that ordeal again thanks to his older brother (Pearce) who is set to take the crown after the death of their father (Gambon),
but after a major scandal that sees King Edward VIII (later, The Duke
of Windsor) abdicated, he finds himself thrust back into the limelight
knowing that he’ll once again have to speak in public.

Seeing his confidence plummet, his supportive wife Elizabeth (Bonham Carter)
enlists an unconventional and slightly odd Australian therapist Logue
who insists on calling His Majesty “Bertie” and getting his wife to sit
on his chest. After months of therapy, Logue’s work is put to the
ultimate test when the new King is required to deliver the most
important speech in the country’s history; that they’re going to war.

It’s a testament to the work of the director and the actor that the
build up and the actual speech are the tensest scenes in cinema for
years. A man and a microphone should not be that riveting but the build
up is so exquisitely paced that by the time it comes, it is edge of seat
stuff. The relationship between the King and his therapist is obviously
the linchpin of the entire film and their chemistry is sparkling. Far
more than a simple case of comedy coming from opposites who clash a bit,
both men are equally good at quick witted comebacks and portray a truly believable relationship.

Firth is brilliant at the intricacies of the facial expressions and
general frustration that a speech impediment inflicts on people but yet,
he still has time to crack sarcastic jokes (“Timing has never been my
strong suit.”) and maintain the typical stiff upper lipped manner one
would expect from a royal. But as brilliant as Firth is, the show is well and truly stolen by Geoffrey Rush,
who also acted as a producer. His character has been gifted with some
great lines and he delivers them with a cheeky smirk that never becomes
annoying and is an absolute joy to watch. They bounce off each other
brilliantly and are the one of many reasons to see this sparkling,
riveting, and thoroughly entertaining film that should be seen by all.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

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