The King’s Speech (2010) | Review by Hannah Brooks-Motl
Nobody will say so, but the real arias of The King’s Speech belong to its interiors. People will talk about the sprezzatura of Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth as they foam and froth their ways through dueling cadenzas of acting virtuosity; or the rich vibrato of the movie’s slow but penetrating character development; or the quiet bloom of historical drama it manages to tend with organic gravitas; or Helena Bonham Carter’s bravura attempt at queenly corpulence; or any number of metaphors that have liberal, NPR-ish things like opera, or gardening, or social issues such as obesity as their vehicle. For the tenor of this movie—it’s really most definitely a “film”—is worthy in a Terry Gross kind of way. Ask any of the aging baby boomers with whom we giggled, gasped, and heart-warmingly smiled through its showing at at one of those Robert Redford Sundance cinema places (we sent Mark a photo of its popcorn: “nastily, healthily white” he texted back). But we insist that despite being coated in Oscar-worthy performances, with an uplifting “true story” core, The King’s Speech is best consumed with one tooth gnawing on the problem of how to utilize its plum-and-mustard color scheme in your own hardwood-accented domicile.
Besides its vintage wallpaper, what is really great about The King’s Speech? One answer: watching Colin Firth conquer his stutter by shouting obscenities as he staggers around Geoffrey Rush’s charmingly Anthro-esque office. We could have watched Firth in tails nursery-rhyming “bugger-bugger-buggity-bug-shit-ass-FUCK!” literally all day. But this film has bigger couches to upholster. As a movie about characters, we spend much time understanding the psychology of Colin Firth’s Prince Albert and not as much with Geoffrey Rush’s Australian speech therapist-cum-charlatan-cum-savant. And yet Rush gets the best interiors, the happiest home life, and (we still don’t know how this is possible) a hotter wife than Helena. We suspect a little digging at the monarchy is not beyond this film’s purview. We also had lots of thoughts about the truism “finding your voice” and how this movie might help us think through our own burgeoning experiments with prose, and white space, and aphoristic abstraction—form is the fun in content’s life lesson? The surf to its turf?—but these are too secretly tedious to share here. Go see this movie if you’re still majorly crushing on Mr. Darcy, we mean Colin Firth.