Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The King's Speech (DVD Review)

Image Courtesy of Alliance Films. Legal Line © 2010 The Weinstein Company. All Rights Reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved. © 2010 The Weinstein Company. Tous droits réservés. Distribué exclusivement au Canada par Alliance Vivafilm. Tous droits réservés.

Dir: Tom Hooper (The Damned United)
Cast: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Ehle, Derek Jacobi, Timothy Spall
UK/Australia, 2010

Reason to see: I knew from the trailer I would see the acting-heavy, inspiring-looking biopc with Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter.

Now, *this* is all the good things that awards season can bring us. Phenomenal actors, heart wrenching historical stories and Colin Firth (A Single Man) winning us over, again. And it won over many hearts and minds as it picked up 4 Academy Awards including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Colin Firth) and Best Original Screenplay.

The King’s Speech is a biopic though, and biopics can be tricky to write about as each viewer of the film may have a different level on knowledge of the history we are seeing on the screen, and for readers of this review I don’t want to spoil any of the plot with historical facts as one of the beautiful things about The King’s Speech is that it plays strongly as a drama with all the complications and conflicts along the way be they personal notations or public knowledge. So I’ll tread lightly.

In The King's Speech, Colin Firth stars as a royal with a stammer, his wife (played by Helena Bonham Carter) enlists the untraditional help of Australian Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush) to help him. It’s a fascinating, trying and compelling story about power, duty and personal pride as well as having historic relevance to boot. From the human connection perspective, the ability to express yourself, to get your message across, is a powerful thing and an important ability to each an every person in the world. Seeing a film where a person of great prestige and duty is struggling with such an everyday thing is astounding. Colin Firth projects to perfect amount of composure of someone of such an important stature, but seeing him struggle is something the audience can easily relate, sympathize with and we are most certainly cheering for him, hoping that he will overcome this burden.

The magic really happens when we see the relationship created between his character and Geoffrey Rush’s, who has taken on teaching him to work through his stammer through unconventional methods. It’s a beautiful, bumpy, real relationship that we get to see build throughout the film and the both Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush are delightful to watch. It’s a perfect story of story, characters and actors who are all top notch. The importance of duty and image coupled by the personal journey of expressions plugs the story into every emotional fibre of the viewer. It’s absolutely brilliant and easily one of the best films of the 2010 and easily made The Perfect List.

DVD Extras:
  • Audio commentary with director Tom Hooper a really interesting audio commentary and it's amazing to hear that challenges of the film and the absolutely spectacular specificity to details throughout from indicators of the score to choices of character interactions, as well as lots of lovely notations to working with the fabulous cast. A pretty technical, but still very accessible commentary, which will be especially of interest if people are curious about the creative process.
  • The King's Speech: An Inspirational Story of an Unlikely Friendship (23 minutes) film clips and interviews with director Tom Hooper, producers Iain Canning & Gareth Unwin, screenwriter David Seidler, actors Colin Firth, Guy Pearce, Helena Bonham Carter, Timothy Spall & Jennifer Ehle on journey of the main character, the relationship between Bertie and Lionel, the importance of speech, the pressure and challenges of the newness of live radio, the casting, working together and characters as well as the production and costume design and the discovery and contribution of the diaries from the actual Lionel Logue.
  • Q&A with the director and cast (22 minutes) Q&A with director Tom Hooper and actors Colin Firth, Guy Pearce, Helena Bonham Carter & Claire Bloom, moderated Matt Holzman from KCRW with a live audience and answering questions on working together, on creating the stammer, on their characters, the relationships between the characters, on why choosing this story and why it had not been previously told.
  • Speeches from the Real King George VI (2 speeches) Pre-War Speech Radio Broadcast Sept 3, 1939 (5 minutes, audio played while showing image of King George) and Post-War Speech from May 14, 1945 (2 minutes, video footage).
  • The Real Lionel Logue (10 minutes) film clips along with interview with Mark Logue (Lionel Logue's grandson and co-author of The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy) on how he came to the project, on Lionel Logue and his background and how he came to help people with their speech issues, the diaries of Lionel Logue and the relationship built between the King and Logue.
  • The Stuttering Foundation (1 minute) Public Service Announcement from The Stuttering Foundation
The King's Speech is available on DVD as of April 19, 2011. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I'll watch it repeatedly
I highly & widely recommend it to all

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010-2011
Originally reviewed for Theatrical Release - December 26, 2010

Colin Firth stars in The King's Speech, an Alliance Films release (Image: Courtesy of Alliance Films).

Geoffrey Rush stars in The King's Speech, an Alliance Films release (Image: Courtesy of Alliance Films).

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