Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The King's Speech: A Major Contender

Britain's Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne for so long now that she is not only a part of history but she's appearing as a character in historical dramas. In 2006 it was The Queen.
Now we have the new film, The King's Speech in which the Queen appears as a child with her late sister Margaret as they are thrust into the spotlight with her father's unexpected ascendancy to the throne. Were it not for this event, Elizabeth would probably not be the Queen of England today.
Of course we all know the story of King Edward (Elizabeth's uncle) and his abdication of the throne to marry a twice-divorced American socialite from Baltimore named Wallis Simpson. This couple later became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
But how many of us know the real story of Edward's brother who became King George VI upon Edward's departure?
The King's Speech stars Colin Firth as King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as speech therapist Lionel Logue, who helped George VI overcome a stammer. The stellar cast also includes Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi and Guy Pearce.
As a hopeless anglophile I found myself enthralled by this historical drama. But you don't have to be an honorary (or actual) British subject to enjoy the film.
The story is engrossing. The acting is first-rate. The whole production is masterful.
And there's this: Colin Firth's performance is a joy -- human, restrained and deeply affecting. And Firth is ably matched by the great Geoffrey Rush. So, this becomes a dual acting tour de force the likes of which we rarely see nowadays.
The Kings Speech is the unexpected story behind one of the great stories of the twentieth century.
And now the film itself seems destined to make history.
Oscars? The King's Speech is likely to be nominated more than once.

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