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“King's Speech" - {Blu-ray} - (Ariel)
Reviewer:
Ariel Cheung
Studio: Anchor Bay
Genre:
Drama
Release Date:
4/19/11
Special Features:

See Below

Review:

It is baffling how “The Social Network” managed to sweep the Golden Globes, for everything from Best Motion Picture to Best Director to Best Original Score. What’s even more surprising is that “The King’s Speech” was not the award show’s darling, as it was easily one of the most touching, original movies of the decade.***

Colin Firth (“Bridget Jones,” “Pride and Prejudice”) has a heartfelt performance as Prince Albert, the second son of King George V. As radio sweeps 1925 England, Albert must overcome his stammer in order to produce the regular broadcasts now expected of the royal family. The quiet, nervous Albert — who eventually becomes King George VI — and his wife, the Duchess of York (Helena Bonham Carter), attempt to find a speech therapist who can cure Albert’s severe stutter. But after numerous attempts fail, Albert gives up, until his wife finds Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush (“Finding Nemo,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”). Albert and Lionel strike up an uneasy, but eventually, close friendship as Albert’s life becomes more complicated. After the king dies, Albert’s older brother assumes the throne, but his relations with a divorced woman threaten his crown. Meanwhile, international tension reaches an all-time high as Germany begins invading neighboring countries.***

“The King’s Speech” hits every note perfectly, combining a beautiful score with a star-studded cast and a refreshingly original plot. Firth’s performance as the flustered but courageous Albert — or Bertie, as his family calls him — is one of his most endearing yet. Seeing Firth take on such an intense, emotional role gives the audience a chance to watch his acting muscles flex; from his resistance to taking over for his older brother to his hesitation in trusting Logue, Firth showcases an emotional range that takes him to new heights as an actor.*** Rush’s contrasting Lionel Logue is at ease with the king and playfully pushes him to examine the issues behind the king’s stammer. Of course, he has his own problems — a failing acting career — but he takes a genuine interest in his new student and friend, and his cheerful personality is enjoyable.***

The pair interact cautiously at first, as Albert’s pessimism gets the best of him. But as the king begins to rely on Lionel for speech therapy and personal advice, the friendship strengthens. Rush and Firth’s chemistry is humorous and spot on, giving the friendship a realistic dimension.*** Bonham Carter’s role as the Duchess is an unusual partaking for her simply due to its normalcy. It was a treat to see Bonham Carter in a role other than her typical Tim Burton strangeness. Queen Elizabeth’s practical but mothering air made her a fitting partner for the king.***

Special Features:

Audio commentary with director Tom Hooper/ Making of Featurette: An Inspirational Story of an Unlikely Friendship/ Q&A with the director and the cast including Colin Firth/ Speeches from the real King George VI/ The real Lionel Logue highlights

Final Words:

“The King’s Speech” was one of the most refreshing films in the Golden Globe’s long list of predictable plots and overplayed genres. The film has a soul all its own, which makes it easily one of the best movies of the year.***

 

 
 
 
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