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The King’s Speech

March 18, 2011

As a self-proclaimed movie buff it is a little embarrassing to admit that I failed to see the movie that won Best Picture at the extremely vanilla Oscar’s this year. First a note on that cinematic celebration. I did not think the Oscars were as bland as everyone lambasted them for being. I think that James Franco was definitely high through out the show, which might have made it more funny (especially when he said, “Congratulations Nerds!” after the presentation for the winners at the Scientific and Visual Oscars or whatever it is called). That being said, I think that Anne Hathaway should have turned down the giddy school-girl routine. I mean, the woman is going to be playing Catwoman, she can’t be prancing through the streets of Gotham, gleefully clapping her hands every time Batman steps out of a shadowy alley way. And even though I had not seen The King’s Speech yet, I truly believe that The Social Network got robbed in many way. Most importantly, The King’s Speech was a film that could have been made any year, any decade, an been effective. Everyone realize how difficult it is to have a leader that can barely speak (we all lived through George Bush). But The Social Network was not just impeccably written and forcefully acted, but the movie itself was so poignent and perfect for the time in which it was released. As we are all starting to get friend requests from out grandparents, The Social Network showed us how even a creation that is supposed to bring everyone together sometimes furthers us from real human connection. This sentiment shone through out the film with Jesse Eisenberg’s harsh but heartfelt portrail of the youngest billionaire in history. The film should have been recognized for it’s timelines and cultural accuracy. I mean, the movie critiques itself in the same way it was being critiqued. When everyone heard that a movie about Facebook was coming out, they all said, “It’s too soon, we can’t judge how Facebook has effected society yet!” Cut to Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin talking in their dorm and Zucherberg insists, “We don’t know what it is. We don’t know what it can be. We don’t what it will be. We know that it is cool.” That is exactly how the public still feels about Facebook and The Social Network hit that nail on the head.

Ok, I’m done with my rant, because for everything that I said, this was still an amazing movie. Imagine that your one job, not only professionally but in life in general, is to speak to millions of people, and that is the one thing you can not do? Would you be angry? Frustrated? Humble? Well I would probably be really pissed, as is the King in this film. Colin Firth is introduced to the audience as the Duke of York, or to everyone from this continent, the second in line to the throne of England. While that does certainty take the pressure off some, a prince is still required to speak all the time. And Albert Fredrick Arthur George happens to have a ridiculous stammer. Like, an insane, can’t get words out at all, stammer. It’s kind of like those birthday candles that when you blow them out, they just keep relighting, and the flame seems even bigger. Except the candle lasts for an entire lifetime, which would be a giant candle.

He's been standing there for 2 hours

So off to the experts the not-so-young prince and his wife (played by Helena Bonham Carter in her first good role since she stopped being in Tim Burton movies, which would be this movie, so it’s her first good role in a while). Now of course the medical experts and royal doctors are kind of the oposite. He probably should have realized this when one guy makes him put seven giant glass balls in his mouth and tells him to read a passage. No one should ever tell the prince of England to put balls in his mouth. Eventually, his wife Elizabeth stumbles upon an untraditional speech therapist who offers his services to the prince.

The therapist is played stunningly by Jeffery Rush. Rush’s incredible acting is coupled with the amazing room the set director found/created to the characters sessions in. Lionel Logue’s office consists of a large room with sparse furniture. It looks as if the walls had been wallpapered over 5 times and then ripped apart. It is bleak, but quaint at the same time, and definitely the oposite of the type of place the prince is used to spending his time in.

"Yes Prince Albert, the office is right up the stairs and to your left."

The prince is at first extremely reluctant. He is prone to outbursts and hates to have his royalty come into question. But as the unusual therapy continues, he begins to realize that it is not his voice or throat or mouth that is the problem, it is his concept of himself. Meanwhile, his father, the King (played by Dumbledore) passes and leaves the kingdom to his first born. Played by Guy Pearce, turns out to be an unfortunate choice, and would rather chase married American women then deal with Hitler and the Nazis kind of committing genocide and taking over Europe across the channel. Under the pressure to, uh, do his job, the eldest son decides to step down from his throne, passing is on to Albert.

This situation is massive, and a turn of events that the prince was not expecting. He has inherited the largest kingdom in the world, on the eve of the collapse of  Europe and possible invasion of his own country. During this time, we see the relationship between Logue and the prince intensify and strengthen. Lionel becomes more of a mental therapist or physiologist to the prince, and in turn, Firth plays the role of a changing prince and King incredibly well. Plus his stammer is amazing, I mean, amazing. This was undoubtedly a story worth telling and a film worth watching. It is uplifting and emotional, but very comical at points and can somehow be relatable to anyone who needed to overcome a significant obstacle. Oh yeah, and he gets to curse a lot…

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