Other films by Tom Hooper: Red Dust (2004), The Damned United (2009), Les Miserables (2012)
I didn’t really here about the film until I found out that it won the Academy Award for best picture against the likes of Inception and The Social Network. It also won Best Screenplay and Actor. Even with such recognition, I didn’t bother getting too excited with its concept. I knew Firth is a tremendous and powerful actor but what the film just expressed in its screening was very much impressive. The conflict, on an objective point of view may seem quite trivial since there are far worse illness, disaster, troubles, etc around the world than a mere speech impediment. However, individually, if you see King George VI torment and notice the heavy weight of his predicament through the film’s cinematography, storytelling and great acting, you then meet the gravity of the situation. King George VI’s health as a ruler and as a King extends to the health of the country’s people.
The storytelling is really something to admire because it showcased most emotions and passion in different levels at such a high class act. There was sentimentality, spirit, inspiration, anxiety, fear, tension, friendship, rivalry, disappointment, hope, humour, etc, that made the film more than likeable at any angle. It really is a great film that deserved its respect. This is me not being biased.
Directing: The cinematography amazingly makes the ambient of an old age setting seem not just beautiful and modern, but thrilling and suspenseful in its own usual way. It wasn’t just a frightening experience to talk publicly in front of people, but to carry such a grand responsibility, name and reputation makes the event more nerve wrecking. Also, to be conscious of what people may be thinking at that moment of cruel time when he Firth was having his anxious experience just when he was starting his reading; a long way to go.
The first session was inspiring and just right in balancing the time span of the scene and the magnitude of the music. It’s amazing how two classics were inserted in a potential classic scene.
The directing doesn’t force the emotional impact of each scene, just like the moment King George VI heard his first recorded force and how sincerely impressive it was. The reading training was somewhat comedic as it truly must have been, but also a bit intense just how it should be.
I found the lighting and the continuous ongoing shots during the scenes where King George was arguing with King Edward VIII and Lionel. They were full of content, the dialogue made you empathize with his anxiety. The movement of the camera kept the tension higher than it would have been if shot otherwise. The second argument with Lionel was far better, surprisingly.
Plot: The plot may seem quite trivial since any ordinary person may have such speech impediment as well, yet to actually be in a predicament carrying a heavy weight from the public makes it even more significant to focus on.
George’s personal openness and how Lionel unleashed the confessions were so heartwarming especially how Firth was somewhat forced to sing his hurtful sentiments and memories. That scene was very intimate on George’s part since his psychological well-being was slowly being picked apart.
The film has its serious drama, content, it’s occasional humor and inspirational feel to it. Seems like a total package.
Characters/Acting: 15 minutes in and you can immediately notice the amazing performance by Colin Firth without overdoing it, nor forcing the character to be one which is too extraordinary. And how can I forget Geoffrey Rush’s creative consistency in carrying his role. Helen was wonderful and convincing as usual. Guy Pierce, having seen his other films, has just opened my mind on how great of an actor he actually is.
Score: The score was magnificent as it supported and complemented the cinematography and the mood of the film very well. Like I said earlier, the film is the total package and even the score itself deserves such great praise and recognition.