2010 • The King’s Speech

The King's Speech, 2010This year, I managed to watch all ten Best Picture nominees, the first time I’d ever accomplished that feat, even when it was recently just five nominees. One of the movies that I questioned going in was The King’s Speech. I mean honestly, if you don’t want someone to see your movie, what a fitting title. There were two words in that title that made me loathe wanting to see it: “king” and “speech.” I don’t particularly find foreign history interesting, and I certainly don’t find speeches by royalty interesting. So I admittedly went in a little sour, expecting something like A Man for All Seasons. But oh, how I was wrong!

The King’s Speech stars Colin Firth as Prince Albert (eventually King George VI), who struggles mightily with a stammer. His wife, Elizabeth, attempts to find a therapist who can cure her husband’s impediment, and her last hope is Lionel Logue. Initially reluctant, Albert hears his voice on a recording and gives Logue another chance. Through a series of twisted events, Prince Albert is named King. All the while, he and Logue form an unlikely bond. With war with Germany looming, the King must give the most important speech of his life; can Logue coach him through it?

I was relieved when I found out this was more of a timeless movie. Yes, it focuses on real characters from history, but it wasn’t a movie about history. It was more about the characters as people themselves and overcoming an obstacle. Firth’s character is very likable and it’s hard not to root for him throughout the movie. The point I’m making is I feel like this movie could have taken place today as easily as it did the early 1900s.

Spoiler Alert! My favorite moments were probably everybody’s favorite moments—the big triumphant scenes, like where King George VI successfully delivers the big speech. Even though he and Logue are isolated in a private room speaking into a microphone for the big speech, it was a huge production with the media just outside and thousands of people outside the building and millions listening on the radio… anyone would be nervous to speak in that situation. Yet that, of all times, is the time he finally does it.

I surprised even myself when I decided that this was the best of the ten nominees. While I actually really liked all ten movies, I was hoping one of the two front-runners would win—Social Network was equally as good. But I predicted and would have voted for The King’s Speech. The acting, obviously, was phenomenal with Firth winning Best Actor and nominations for Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham-Carter. Tom Hooper won for Best Director in only his third feature film.

If you haven’t seen this one yet, I’d highly recommend it. I ended up ranking it 23rd overall on my list, just behind Gone With the Wind.

That leaves only 2009’s Hurt Locker (which we’ve seen, but not recently enough to review it, so I have to watch it again) and 1933’s Cavalcade, which I just purchased for $5.00 on eBay on VHS. The project is nearly complete!