Monday, April 18, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

Tomorrow, one of my favorite movies in recent years arrives on DVD/Blu Ray, and be sure I’ll be first in line to pick it up and watch it again. That movie is 2010’s Academy Award winner for Best Picture, The King’s Speech.

The story follows the yet to be king, George VI, the current Queen Elizabeth’s father, and his desperate attempts to find a cure for his stuttering problem. In a last ditch effort, he visits a man by the name of Lionel Logue, who claims to specialize in speech defects. Though tumultuous, a friendship arises between unlikely teacher and pupil making a significant mark on history itself.

Historical movies are difficult to sell, unless they be of war or scandal or some other sort of plight over humanity. Tougher yet, historical biographies run the risk of boring a mixed-interest crowd with mundane details, even assuming that the proverbial “they” wouldn’t make a movie about someone uninteresting. But this storytelling is so engaging, the writing so exact, and the acting even more so, it leads any audience through a perfect journey of intellect, humor, emotion and triumph.

Let me just tell you about the acting here. Yes, Colin Firth (BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Mama Mia!, and my personal favorite What a Girl Wants) delivers a stellar performance, worthy of his Golden Globe and Academy Award wins. His portrayal of the reluctant monarch is believable, heartbreaking, captivating. But he shines because Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean, Shakespeare in Love, Shine) is such an amazing support. Offering comedic relief in awkward situations, Mr. Rush adds depth and heart to his character and to the movie as a whole that wouldn’t be there without him. I call him the Subtle Genius. And then Helena Bonham Carter, who we usually see in wackier roles such as Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts, even walks with Elizabeth’s (the current queen’s mother) signature gait.

In past years, award time has made me wary, though I’ve applauded heartily at the past two years’ Best Picture winners (The Hurt Locker – 2009, Slumdog Millionaire – 2008). I don’t like the higher-ups telling me what I should like or appreciate. So I go into nominated and celebrated films with a skeptical eye, each having much to prove for me to agree with its accolades. Now I can also applaud 2010’s top film, The King’s Speech, which goes far beyond my expectations, outdoes the nice things critics said about it, and resonates with me, a movie nerd, as one of the best movies I’ve seen.

So, if you’re looking for a smart, adult, impressive film to see, The King’s Speech is that film. (Again, releasing on DVD/Blu Ray tomorrow!)

(It is rated R, but only because of one rather humorous scene involving adult language. It’s a MPAA technicality, actually. Otherwise, this film could easily be rated PG.)

Happy movie watching, Dry Ground friends!

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