I was pleasantly surprised while watching The King’s Speech from Director Tom Hooper (“EastEnders”) and writer David Seidler (The King and I). English films while usually always good in the end, aren’t top picks for me. I’d much rather watch American actors and directors. But I wholeheartedly enjoyed seeing into the life of English royalty and the hardships that connect all people by transcending culture and classes.
Eric Robinette was in the same boat, “I was actually rather surprised I loved the film. Typically, I’m not into what a friend of mine once called “tea party movies” — otherwise known as period pieces.”
Colin Firth as Prince Albert and then King George VI was outstanding. He portrayed the conflict and yearning for acceptance someone with such a closed, private life must feel. As the pressure to take a leadership role as King comes barreling down on the shy ‘Bertie,’ he must face his demons — his bullying brother King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) and rest of family, stammering, a closed-mind, trusting others.
Robinette says, “With Firth’s performance, that wasn’t hard for me. Albert has tremendous issues, to be sure, but Firth must also convey a strength and resolve in spite of them, and Firth does so with the kind of sure-handedness that doesn’t seem so much like acting. He simply is the king.”
Firth’s character was able to go from stubborn and shy to opening up and letting himself have a true friendship with his unconventional but hilarious speech therapist Lionel (Geoffrey Rush). Rush almost stole the show for me. He played such a thoughtful character that just happened to use tough love as his approach for getting King George over the big hump that was his low self-esteem.
Robinette sums up the dynamic between Firth and Rush’s characters, “Firth and Rush both shine in their roles. The film surprised me by being so funny, and that’s due primarily to Rush’s work. His character has no qualms about breaking rules, cracking jokes and making people mad to get results. Most importantly, he sees a regal bearing in Albert that most people don’t — and the crucial part is getting Albert not only to speak it but believe it.” Read his full review here.
Pearce’s character was such an interesting one to me. He was the ‘rebel’ family member that basically quit his role as King to marry an American woman. He seemed lost with what he wanted from life and put down his brother to feel better about himself. Carter as Queen Elizabeth was a sharp role. She brought humor and loyalty to the character and was enjoyable to watch. Robinette says, “Truly, every performance, large and small, is outstanding. Carter brings a pleasing light touch to her role as the long-suffering but steadfast wife.”