Review: The King's Speech
|Starring||Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon, Timothy Spall|
|Release||26 NOV (US) 7 JAN (UK) Certificate 15|
Unlike most other British films corralled into the same awards-friendly release slot, The King's Speech is actually very good - it's certainly an entertaining enough film that'll adequently represent the Brits when we inevitably lose at the Oscars.
Colin Firth - officially the British candidate for the 'He Wuz Robbed Award' as he was for last year's A Single Man - plays King George VI aka Bertie, the mild-mannered royal thrust into the throne when his mad Dad dies and his wantaway brother jogs on to knob some American bird called Marge Simpson or something. Bertie's problems aren't limited to those typically found in royal biopics (familial in-fighting, jealousy, class wars etc), because he has a cinema-friendly disability too: a horrendous stammer.
There's top support work to flank Firth as he drives towards Buckingham Palace in his Oscar vehicle (beep beep), with Guy Pearce adopting a flawless porsh accent as Bertie's brother, King Edward, while HBC gives Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon aka The Queen Mum a spark that suggests she was a bit of a goer (try not to think of that when picturing her in her later years). The only real bum note is Timothy Spall's caricature of Winston Churchill, which came across a bit too 'Jon Culshaw' to be taken too seriously.
In the same vein as Stephen Frears' The Queen, it's not quite the world-beating effort the British film press might have you thinking it is, but it's a perfectly functional, frequently enjoyable biopic that knows the right buttons to push and has all the right people pushing them. It'll have Baftas coming out of its arse, just you watch.