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A Vote For ‘The King’s Speech’

Above: Colin Firth stars in "The King's Speech."

In addition to dissing “True Grit,” which I haven’t seen, in the December Film Club Of The Air our three critics bestowed faint and reluctant praise on “The King’s Speech,” which I saw this week. And now that I have, I feel obliged to stand up for Tom Hooper and Guy Pearce, even though neither of them needs my help.

The film’s director, Tom Hooper, was accused of “finger-painting,” rather than movie-making; using a fish-eye lens (which nobody today uses, apparently); and not having Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in the same frame often enough. While all that may be true, I submit that none of it matters in the least. If you are fortunate enough to have these two peerless actors in the movie you are directing and a story which is both touching and thrilling, the best you can do for my money is step smartly out of their way. Britain in the 20s and 30s was both foggy (quite literally) and scary, a country waiting for war. A fish-eye lens might be just the thing through which to look at it.

Now about Guy Pearce. The fact that his performance was dismissed as foppish leaves me, well, speechless. Pearce was King Edward VIII, the man who, through his own fecklessness became the Duke of Windsor, pretty much number one on the all-time Fop Hit-Parade. He was a dim, selfish, Nazi-loving clothes-horse without a dutiful bone in his small, elegant body. When you also consider that the charming duke was played by Edward Fox in the British TV series “Edward And Mrs. Simpson” – and that nobody does foppish quite as well as Edward Fox – the truth of Guy Pearce’s all-too-brief performance becomes clear.

Have you seen "The King's Speech?" Were you charmed or bored? What did you like or dislike about it?

Comments

Avatar for user 'primetimemom'

primetimemom | December 30, 2010 at 3:56 p.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

My husband and I saw this movie the day it came out. The theater was packed and the audience gave it a standing ovation at the end. We absolutely loved it. Of everyone I know who has seen it, they gave it two thumbs up as well.

The reviewers sometimes praise movies I think are awful and dis movies I love so I take their opinions with a big grain of salt.

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Avatar for user 'Pat Finn'

Pat Finn, KPBS Staff | January 1, 2011 at 10:32 a.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

As do I. Criticism is both useful to the consumer and necessary to keep the arts healthy and relevant (and to steer us away from dreck), but I think all critics -- myself included -- can't help but come at films, books, music, performances, with our own baggage. So it helps to have a sense of history about the medium and about the story itself.

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