Monday, February 28, 2011

The King's Speech

AOG, London

I just saw the Oscar ceremony, and I have to say I'm slightly disappointed by the election of The King's Speech as the winning movie. As the best movie of the year. 

I had a hard time picturing this film as a contender for the crown in the first place, and given the competition, it is surprising that it won.

I saw it a few weeks ago and I remember leaving the movie theater feeling a bit... well, a bit like nothing had really happened. 

No great climax, no interesting insights, no great idea. 

The story is simple enough, the next in line to the  British throne, the future George VI,  has a speech impediment and an Australian speech therapist (played by  the great Geoffrey Rush) helps him to speak well. 

There you go, that is the whole movie right there. 

You'd think that being a British film (and this is the reason why it won, because in the US, anything British and Royal at the same time is a surefire winner) they could have done a bit more work on the plot. 

But no, in fact, poor Mr. Firth, who is a very good actor, and now one with an Oscar under his belt (yes, though we all know the Oscar is really for his performance last year in A Single Man) pretty much carries the weight of the whole movie on his shoulders.

Helena Bonham-Carter, as the future Queen Mother, is good at, well, at being Helena Bonham-Carter playing a royal person, not at actually playing the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother herself. I saw a similar performance of hers in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland a few months ago. Less manic, but just as "royal".

All this time, when people have asked me about the movie, all I have been able to muster has been that it is a "nothing film". And that is all it is. 

A pretty (though it could have been more spectacular), simple (though it could have been slightly more complicated), very well acted movie based on a few stories concerning King George VI, himself a very interesting character (the last Emperor of India, the last King of Ireland  &c.). 

And it is odd that no more was made of his life, that all that mattered was that one speech problem and that all else was superseded to it. And believe me, there was more. Of the relationship between  George VI and his brother, King Edward VIII. 

Of the strained relationship with Wallis Simpson and what she meant for the future of the monarchy -sadly played by Eve Best, a British actress playing the infamous American divorcée -credited for coining the famous boutade "You can never be too rich or to thin". 

To say nothing of the awful performance delivered by Claire Bloom as Queen Mary. Yes, a miscast. Or perhaps not well directed. 

I remember that whenever she popped into the screen I would try really hard to make myself believe that she was Queen Mary, and not just an actress in period costume. She was too young to play her perhaps. Too...unroyal, if there be such a word.

But I don't want to kill the movie completely. It does have some very interesting performances. Derek Jacobi, for one, is amazing in his part as Archbishop Cosmo Lang. Evil, and nervy, he is a very memorable character. 

As is the  wonderful aforementioned  Geoffrey  Rush as Lionel Logue. 

The movie has a few moments of hilarity here and there, but they, in my humble opinion, were not fully exploited. So, I'm glad it won, it is not a bad movie, but, as I said, it is just a 'nothing film'. 

I would have given True Grit the Oscar. But then, I am slightly biased... 


xochimiqui1 said...

Well I suppose we all have our opinions. I thought it was a very good movie. But then you pointed out, I am an American who is apparently incapable of recognizing a good movie.I can
however...recognize Euro-snobbishness when I encounter it.

Ynot said...

Well done for recognising Euro-snobishness when you see it. Many people don't, and that is their failing.

Now, news flash, this post isn't about you personally or your taste in movies.

As you know, Americans love British royalty anything. Don't they?

I didn't say the movie was bad, all I said was that it was not worthy of an Oscar.

Can we all remember Braveheart?

Another Academic masterpiece!

xochimiqui1 said...

I'm were saying something?

Ynot said...

You know I hate you, right? I have one word for you:

B a n i s h m e n t .

Need I say more?

xochimiqui1 said...

Of course you hate me...the same way you hate shopping, palaces, and "southern tasties"......your worship the quicksand I walk on!

Ynot said...

No, palaces, shopping and tasties (that includes yankees too), I love.

You however, this strange uppity-ness is disconcerting, and unwelcome.

I may have to sell, no wait, better yet, give to one of the servants, the diamond necklace you got for your 18th birthday. Sorry, was it your 18th facelift? I forget. It was the 40s and I was taking a lot of antacid then...

xochimiqui1 said...

OIC!!! I always forget that you majored in "BITCH" at Harvard! As for my face lifts...well...shall we count the number of tummy tucks and ass lifts Madam has had? Just accept me as the wonderful...faaaabulous friend that I am...and go back to doing whatever you "Royals in Exile" do! Smooches...

Ynot said...

Ass lifts... humm... I have forgotten how many of those I've had up to now. 10? 20? 200? Who can keep count?

xochimiqui1 said...

Honesty IS the best policy.....and you know of course that I enjoy tormenting you with my impertinence!

Ynot said...

What was your name again?

xochimiqui1 said...

TimmyJoSueBob O'Hara

Ynot said...

Whom I love and worship...and occasionally feel the need to smack about a bit when seen not wearing the appropriate jewels and gear...

xochimiqui1 said...

Tell me...what is the protocol for Tiaras before Memorial Day?