THE KINGS SPEECH : DID IT SPEAK TO MY HEART?
So I went to see “The Kings Speech” yesterday. In what has apparently been a bit of a lacklustre year for cinema (judging by the general big 5 or 6 films that are getting all the big award nods), this is supposed to be the best of the lot – the one that is most likely to claim Best Picture at The Oscars, pipping the likes of “Inception”, “The Social Network”, “The Fighter”, “True Grit” and “Black Swan” to the post. I have seen “True Grit” and “Back Swan”, and I really enjoyed both (“Black Swan” I think is an absolute future classic that people will still be discussing in years to come), I saw “Inception” also but did not enjoy it so much, for reasons I will not elaborate on right now.
However this post is about “The Kings Speech”, and here are my rambling thoughts. It does feature plot spoilers, so if you don’t know much about the life of George VI and don’t want a historical drama spoiled for you, LOOK AWAY NOW.
You see, I quite liked it, but it was hardly the type of film that I felt like I could LOSE MY SHIT OVER. Like the film “The Queen” which was on a similar note, it just felt far too much like a BBC1 Christmas Day drama special to me. Whilst I think it was absolutely beautifully shot, using really well considered camera angles throughout, and very well acted (When did Colin Firth suddenly being a superb character actor, although I did prefer him in a “A Single Man” true story) it never felt like a proper EVENT FILM to me, and considering the hype you do mentally kind of expect it to be. In reality it was literally absolutely everything that I expected from the film, to the point where I probably didn’t really need to watch it, as mentally in my mind I already could see it, if that makes sense. It was EVERYTHING that I expected it to be before actually seeing it, scene by scene, no surprises.
The other problem that I had, and such is the way with historical dramas, is that I knew EXACTLY what was going to happen at every point in the film, so I did find myself getting a bit bored. I didn’t really get the warm tingly feeling at the end that I have heard so many other people mention (I have read lots of reports on-line of entire cinema’s APPLAUDING at the end of the film – something unheard of normally in the UK) as I knew already that he was going to deliver his speech really well. Perhaps this was a film probably not intended for people like myself.
Personally I would have liked them to have mixed up the storyline a little, perhaps added a subplot of obsession on the side of Jeffrey Rush’s character – I found the shot at the end of the Royal family waving to the crowd with Rush STARING ON in the background inherently creepy, and it would have been great if he had some kind of mental disorder and was imagining himself up there with the Royal Family (especially as Colin Firth refers to him as FAMILY at several points in the film), possibly pushing Helena Bonham Carter over the balcony in the process. Even better would have been if after Colin Firth sacks him mid-way through the film, that the remainder of the film is actually all fictional and from the inside of Jeffery Rush’s obsessive stalking head, cumulating in a BIG REVEAL at the end that what we witnessed was all fake, and he was actually a dangerous psycho causing a threat on the life of the King. I think this would have made a much more exciting film, and I think it would have been a plot twist that not many people would see coming. Maybe a bit like a Royal Family version of “One Hour Photo”. But such is the way of historical drama’s – they have to stick TO THE FACTS, and apparently this film has made people that are not me very happy by doing so.
Whilst by no means a bad film, it is very British and rather charming, I really cannot see “The Kings Speech” being a landmark piece of genre defining cinema that still inspires and excites in 10, 20, 30, 40 years time – to be honest I think like previous Best Film winner Russell Crowe vehicle “A Beautiful Mind” it will be all but forgotten in a few years time, whereas Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” I can see inspiring and influencing cinema for many years to come. I would love “Black Swan” to sneak the Best Picture Oscar right from under the nose of “The Kings Speech”, but to be honest I think such a thing right now is doubtful.
In related Oscar-talk news, I thought Hailee Steinfeld is genuinely AMAZING in her role in “True Grit” for which she is Academy Award nominated for (bizarrely) “Best Supporting Actress”.
It is one of the best-written female roles I have seen for ages, had Portman not had Black Swan on lock down I would imagine she would be a surprise choice for all the main Best Actress awards – EXCEPT she seems to have been oddly nominated as a Supporting Actress for nearly all of her noms this year (like I said above including the Oscars), which really doesn’t make much sense to me as along with Jeff Bridges she IS the film “True Grit” – she is in almost every scene.
Obvious thing to say, but that she is 14, and this is her first film role is pretty extraordinary, she really is most excellent. I hope she gets more film roles off the back of this, she could really develop into quite something over the next few years.
Anyway that is ENOUGH from me on the subject for one evening. “Black Swan” and Hailee Steinfeld to win right.