21 January, 2011

The King's Speech

Oh The King's Speech. It was beautiful. I love historical dramas. Full stop. I love them. When you take a historic moment in time with which we are all familiar, like the start of WW2 (no, I wasn't alive then, but we all know the basics), and give me a personal story of trials and triumph, Colin Firth is involved, and then you throw in Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter and the monarchy? I'm donefor. I'm in. Take me away I need to see it. And oh boy did The King's Speech deliver. You really don't need to me say that, you've seen the nominations and reviews, but there were a few cinematic moments and story telling scenes I wanted to point out.

I loved the 'in this space we are equals' sentiment.  If the King of England (or soon to be) wanted anything accomplished, he had to be on the same level as the common man. He had to do silly things like roll around on the floor and scream out of the window; it made the monarch human. As a side note, I really wish it was socially acceptable to have curse words coming out of your phone, because if it were, I would have Colin Firth screaming obscenities as my text alert tone. Brilliant.  

The conversation shots in Lionel's office between Firth and Rush were also beautiful. It's a medium-wide shot with the subject off center, and a sparse and deteriorating background (the paint is peeling off in layers). This shows the subject, but shows it as slightly off; something is wrong (speech impediment? Fear? Lying about qualifications? Distant? Unsharing? Guarded?). The cut-away quick editing effect also illustrated that nothing was seamless. Everything took effort, as did every word that left Bertie's lips. 

The score was GORGEOUS. Well done Alexandre Desplat. You are quickly growing in my list of genius composers (Twilight fans, he did New Moon and Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows, 1 & 2). I can't stop listening to 'The King's Speech' (name of the track) and Beethoven's Symphony no. 7, 'Speaking Unto Nations'- yes, this is Beethoven, not Desplat, but it's still gorgeous, and tells a story in this score. Simple progression that is thematic enough to remain consistent and familiar to the listener, but unique enough to allow the listener to identify which emotion and story element that music accompanied. Lovely!

Some of the imagery of tiny elements was also great.  The size of the microphones he had to deal with; they were imposing, dominating most of the frame, and intimidating. They honestly looked like a threat, and the settings where they were located, were open (the cavernous room where his father gave the Christmas address), or full of expectant listeners (the stadium). This made him more vulnerable, under scrutiny, and the awkward pauses oh so much more awkward.  Thus I loved the room that Lionel had created for the King's speech at the end. He made it feel 'cozy' and therefore slightly less frustrating. The king found his voice, Lionel found a job, a Queen helped her King rise to his position, and a nation found a monarch of which it could be proud. Rockin'. Well done.

I think I need to re-watch Firth's Golden Globe acceptance speech now. I love the "surprisingly robust triangle of manlove." Lordy... lovely.

So yes, I LOVED the King's Speech, and want more. ASAP. I think I may have to see it again this weekend... lush.

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