With the Oscars just a month and a half away, I find myself in much less of a rush to get to the theater to screen the likely contenders than usual. There's just not much that appeals to me this season that I haven't already seen, with one glaring exception that I remedied today -- The King's Speech. As I've explored here in the past, I am an ardent admirer of Colin Firth and his cinematic oeuvre (his embarrassing appearance in What a Girl Wants, and his unfortunate song stylings in Mamma Mia! aside). As a result, The King's Speech would have been on my must-see list even without all the accolades and Oscar buzz.
Thankfully, with regard to Firth's work in The King's Speech, (and that of his equally talented co-stars Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham-Carter for that matter), every piece of positive press was richly deserved. This is a superbly acted film, practically sparking with chemistry between the two male leads. Firth and Rush are infinitely believable as unlikely friends, and their repartee is a joy to watch.
Furthermore, Firth does a commendable job in portraying a stutterer. Often, speech impediments are used for comedic effect in films, or to indicate a dangerous mental imbalance. Firth manages to avoid both associations, and portray George VI compassionately, and turns a monarch into a relatable human being.
Strangely, given my predilection for sad, or otherwise emotionally challenging films, I really enjoyed the uplifting trajectory of The King's Speech. The film carefully cultivates the audience's empathy for the king, and when he ultimately manages to overcome his speech impediment to deliver a clear, unencumbered speech to the British people, we feel we have shared in his victory. If you enjoy feel-good movies (or, like me, even if you don't), do yourself a favor and catch The King's Speech this Oscar season -- it will warm the cockles of your heart, even when the temperatures are bitterly cold.