Have you ever walked out of a dark and drab urban environment, into some invigorating, green landscape? That feeling of freshness and reconnection with oneself, multiplied by several times, is the effect I got when watching The King’s Speech.
This might read like rather hyperbolic praise, yet there are several reasons for this film’s inclusion in my Top Ten favourite films ever (at the expense of Atonement, which I still recommend). To begin with, the very human theme itself of a man – no less a King – who is fighting internally and externally against a speech impediment, moves the viewer’s sensibility. This is certainly a breath of fresh air when compared to the usual superficial dross that Hollywood dishes out every so often. The humanity of the King’s situation is certainly done justice by the wonderful acting of the entire cast. I particularly enjoyed Geoffrey Rush’s performance as Lionel Logue; the highly interesting, loyal and intelligent character for whose portrayal Rush won a highly-deserved BAFTA.
The protagonist himself – King George VI, or “Bertie” – brought to life by the impeccable Colin Firth, was nothing short of an achievement, for which Firth too won a BAFTA. This brilliant acting was well brought together by the masterful direction of Tom Hooper and the ingenious music of Alexandre Desplat. The director managed to capture the loneliness and helplessness of the King through the use of filming techniques, setting and style. The music sustains a clever balance between creativity and purpose: beautiful harmonies and a metaphor for the journey of a maturing Royal.
Although the makers of the film had made their homework well in order to make it as historically accurate as possible – going as far as to include snippets of information from the Logue’s diary (discovered only weeks before filming) into the script – I personally think that the character of Churchill in particular was rather mono-dimensional and weak. However, this does not at all spoil the enjoyment of the film.
In an age when society seems to lack heroes who deserve admiration and respect, I think it is well worth to embrace the message of this film…and for us to – like the King – make it our mission to earn the esteem of other people and rise to the challenges, rather than lie in a slumber of apathy and self-deprecation.