|Peter, thank you! |
After your review, I tried for over a month to see the movie. One thing after another prevented us. The night before last, following the snow of the previous night, the city came through with their scrapers and sealed us in again -- it took an hour to clear the driveway of the compacted ice. It's always something...
Last night my wife and I finally made it. We were both glad we did. The movie was everything you said, and more. Director Tom Hooper did a masterful job of holding our attention -- a word rooted in "tension" -- without a single gun or naked body in the whole movie. It was a talkie about talking. I have to credit Colin Firth for being an actor in an age of "types" in which stars and starlets play themselves (or their screen persona) over and over. Firth became someone else.
(Guy Pearce has a natural similitude to Edward VIII, but judging from other stills, not so much as he was born with, as he projected. I agree that Queen Elizabeth as portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter was charming for her intelligent wit.)
The contrast between Albert ("Bertie") King George VI and Lionel Logue is deep; but they bridge it and it is to the king's credit, of course, as Logue can do little more than try once to see him (while is still the Duke of York) and fail. The initiative must rest with the king who is faced with a complex matrix of inter-related problems. In an age of radio, his stammer is a state problem. He cannot remain in the background: his brother's ridiculous romance and subsequent abdication forces him to the front. And his nation is threatened by a war brought to them by a masterful orator who does understand the power of speech, even by radio.
This is not My Fair Lady. Albert does indeed improve his speech. He can talk much better in more circumstances. But he could not have delivered his first wartime speech but for the immediate coaching of Lionel Logue ... and still he stammers a bit. ("Rough at first, but better toward the end," says his daughter, Princess Elizabeth.)
For me, this was about two men from different cultures brought together to solve a problem. For my wife, it was all about public speaking. Most people would rather be in a roomful of spiders than in front of an audience. Many people say they fear death less than they fear public speaking. She is one of those. I am not. Thursday night, I spoke on "Monetary Media as Astronomical Record" to the astronomy club of my alma mater. I was in my element. So, for me, the deep and abiding value in this movie - its metaphysical reward - was in the abstraction of highly consequential conflict overcome by the shared self interests of two intelligent people.
(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 2/07, 9:12am)