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April 19, 2011

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DVD of the Week – Review of The King’s Speech (2010)

by NIR SHALEV

The King’s Speech is a rarity of a film because under close inspection, it’s really nothing more that fluff; well acted, well shot, well written fluff. It was nicknamed Oscar Fluff and it was expected to fail but it succeeded due to its terrific performances, cinematography, direction, and very large heart.

The story revolves around soon-to-be-King George VI (Collin Firth, in a deserved Oscar winning performance) who suffers from a terrible stammer; his loving and supporting wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter); his brother King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) who, in a terrific side story was planning on marrying a widow from a none-royal family; and George’s new speech coach/therapist and eventual best friend Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).

The time period is just before WWII and George becomes the King of England because of his brother’s love for his new found girlfriend. But as king he needs to have a strong backbone and a strong voice, both of which he lacks. So Elizabeth finds George the best speech therapist that they could have possibly imagined to have found and through Lionel’s unorthodox methods, but methods that work very well, George becomes the King that the country needs and deserves.

The film showcases the time period very well, through terrific and authentic art direction and costumes and constant “artsy” fog, and the back-and-forth dialogue is so terrific that… well, the screenplay won an Oscar. The actors portray their characters like people instead of characters or caricatures, and they go for realism. We can relate to them as normal human beings and because of the realism in their performances we sort of forget the monarchy aspect of the film. They appear to be normal, albeit rich, people that have a big problem on their hands and they fix it in a manner that anyone else would; with patience and some smart thinking.

The film is fun to watch, it’s an easy watch, and it’s gorgeous to look at. There’s really nothing I can think of that brings it down even a single notch. There’s even an art house style of cinematography that’s used during the speech therapy lessons and other conversations in the film and because it’s unorthodox it works, and it’s also a nice touch.

The DVD comes with an Audio Commentary, Making Of featurette, and Deleted Scenes. The Blu-ray adds The King’s Speech: An Inspirational Story of an unlikely Friendship, Q&A with the director and cast, Speeches from the Real King George VI, The Real Lionel Logue, and The Stuttering Foundation- Public Service Announcement.

Original Commentary Track review of The King’s Speech by Helen Geib.

Other new releases this week: Gulliver’s Travels, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, Rabbit Hole, Somewhere, Vision: From the Life of Hildegarde von Bingen, The Way Back


4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Helen
    Apr 20 2011

    Highly polished certainly, but fluff? Duty and affliction aren’t fluffy topics, and the film treats them with seriousness.

    (I have nothing against fluff, by the way. More than one of my favorite films could fairly be described that way. :D I just don’t see it here.)

  2. Apr 20 2011

    I don’t see it as fluff but it almost is due to its structure and the overall idea that a monarch goes to speech therapy, the end. It’s a movie about a terrific friendship, overcoming adversity, and having a stuck up brother; all the signs of fluff but it’s not actually fluff becuase it’s terifically entertaining and experty well made.

    It’s my #3 move of last year. :O)

  3. Apr 20 2011

    It shouldn’t have won Best Picture this year, but the performances, as well as the overall feel and look of the film will take you over and have you rooting for the king by the end. However, you can’t help but think you have seen this all before. Good Review!

  4. Apr 21 2011

    “…you can’t help but think you have seen this all before.” That’s what I was refering to but the film is still entiery fresh.

    And, thanks. :O)

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