The King’s Speech is definitely one of those films that is perfect at what it sets out to do but what it sets out to do does not require any amount of ambition. In my opinion, (despite its perfection at what it does) it cannot be considered a great film.
The King’s Speech follows the formation of the friendship between King George VI (Colin Firth) and the man who tries to fix his stammer, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). The film’s backdrop is the eve of World War II as England needs a new figure to look up to.
The film is directed by Tom Hooper (who is probably most known for directing the miniseries John Adams). Hooper’s direction is average. There is nothing wrong with it but there isn’t anything great about it either. This is definitely not a director’s film. David Seidler writes the script for the film (This is Seidler’s big breakthrough in film). Seidler’s script is definitely a huge part of this film’s success. He makes the relationships of not only King George VI and Logue interesting but the relationships between King George and his family as well. Sure the film ends very predictably, but the character interactions easily make up for it.
The cast is spectacular in this film and is deserving of any ensemble awards it receives throughout the awards season. Colin Firth is at the top of his game while playing King George VI. He is given the tough task of portraying a character with a stammer and not coming across as obnoxious or hammy. The stammer actually comes across as very genuine and works perfectly (to the point that you are sometimes cringing as he tries to get the words to come out of him). Firth is deservedly the front runner for the Oscar. Geoffrey Rush is a perfect companion to Firth as his Lionel Logue has perfect chemistry with King George VI. If it wasn’t for Firth, Rush would be stealing scenes left and right. He has all of the funny moments in the film and really makes this movie very accessible to the average moviegoer. Helena Bonham Carter is adequate as the wife of King George and as the third lead of the film. The supporting cast is just as good as the first two top liners. Guy Pearce is probably the best as a very conflicted King Edward VIII. Michael Gambon is perfect casting as King George VI’s father and Timothy Spall (although miscast) brings his all as Winston Churchill.
The production design and costume design are both top notch (and some of the best of each for the year). Although the score is somewhat lackluster the sound mixing on this film has been very underrated so far. It deserves as much credit as Colin Firth in bringing out the cringing effect I witnessed.
Despite some phenomenal acting and great production qualities, the story and directing is too average to be considered a great film. It would be very disappointing if this turned out to be our next Best Picture winner.