I love the Academy Awards and last year I realized how few of the “Best Picture” winners I’d actually seen. So I made it a goal to see all 83 winners and blog my thoughts about them along the way.

Why did it win? Should another movie have won instead? Has it become a beloved classic or do many of you not even recognize the title? I invite you, my friends and guests, to comment along with me. Do you agree/disagree? I should be fair and place a SPOLIER ALERT on this blog since I’ll be writing about various parts of the movie. So read at your own risk…

I have often told people that I have movie amnesia… I can see a movie and forget all about it years later. So for that reason, I am re-watching the 27 I’ve seen before. That said, if no one visits or reads my blog and I basically perform the online equivalent of talking to a brick wall, that’s fine; if for nothing else, it’ll be my own reminder. Enjoy!

And the Oscar goes to…


Friday, January 13, 2012

The King's Speech, 2010










Rated R

This movie is like a mini-reunion with the cast of "Harry Potter" (Dumbledore, Bellatrix, and Wormtail)… I guess we like to use the same British actors. But add to them the incredibly talented Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, and this film boasts quite a group of actors.

Obviously based on historical people and events, this feel-good movie does a magnificent job at generating true empathy from its audience, not just sympathy. After the death of his father, King George V, and the controversial abdication of his brother, King Edward, the Duke of York (or “Bertie”) has now found himself in the unwanted predicament of being the new King of England. The problem is he has had a stammer for as long as he can remember and public speaking, which is the main role of the royalty now (in addition to creating a sense of security for its people), literally terrifies him into silence.

Firth does an exquisite job as King George VI, well deserving of his Best Actor award. His wife, and loving and tireless supporter, is played well by Helena Bonham Carter (but it’s actually a rather boring role to see her in). Instead, the couple to focus on in this film is King George and his speech therapist, Lionel Logue. Rush does an equally amazing job as the therapist with unorthodox practices and treatments. It warmed my heart learning that such a distinguished man with such a debilitating problem found solace, and companionship with someone who was able to bring him hope and confidence. That’s not to say the relationship was always an easy one. In one scene (I’m paraphrasing here), Bertie gets so aggravated with Logue that he screams “Listen to me!” and Logue nonchalantly responds with, “Why?” Bertie shouts, “I have a voice!” This film honors his quest to find it.

I noticed this film’s very interesting cinematography... there are unusual or different angles used and the actors are rarely centered on screen. There is often a lot of “dead space” in the shot but unique backgrounds provide color, design, and a "texture" to the screen (especially the large wall in Lionel's office, pictured below). I also think it's more of a PG-13 movie, but I understand the profanity used in a few scenes warrant the "R".

This year, the Academy hearkened back to the good ol' years by having a whopping ten films nominated for Best Picture (too many in my opinion). The fellow nominees were: "Black Swan", "The Fighter", "Inception", "The Kids are Alright", "True Grit", "127 Hours", "The Social Network", "Winter's Bone", and "Toy Story 3". This was a busy year for me (what with having a baby and all), that I sadly only saw ONE of those films: the last one (and the highest-grossing film of that year I might add; “The King’s Speech was the 4th). I took my two year-old to it. And even though I'm a staunch Disney-fan, I think it's ridiculous that it was up for Best Picture; it belonged only in the Best Animated Feature Film category, not both!

FAVORITE SCENES:

King George finally gives in to the eccentric therapy of Lionel. There is a scene that shows clips of the unique exercises the Duke is forced to do. It's humorous and educating at the same time.


My other favorite scene is THE speech at the end: the one the film prepares us for, basically. Bertie is in a room alone with his dear friend who redecorated the small area just to help His Majesty relax. Watching the two of them, made me realize the true trust and respect they had for each other. I also thought the little bit of dialogue following the speech was interesting:

Lionel: “You still stammered on the W.”
King: “Well I had to throw in a few so they knew it was me.”

At first, I thought it was a rude comment after such an amazing accomplishment, but from watching the special features on this DVD, I discovered those were actual words uttered by the two of them according to Lionel's diaries. Very interesting.


LESSONS LEARNED:

The obvious one is don't give up. Personal challenges can be discouraging no matter how they materialize in your life, but working on them can make you stronger. With dedication, practice might not make perfect, but it can result in improvement. 

Similar to that, another obvious one is have patience. If you're the one struggling to improve, results will probably not be apparent immediately. Also, if you're the one assisting a person in need, your patience with their progress will encourage him/her. And lastly, if you are just someone who comes across a person with a disability, remember to show compassion; you probably have no idea what their life is like.

2 comments:

  1. I love this movie - so incredibly heartwarming and touching. I also loved the Social Network for its cinematography. I wonder if Social Network got the next best amount of votes.

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  2. Funny how we both enjoyed different movies' cinematography... and "The Inception" won that award. :)

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