Sunday, 23 January 2011

The King's Speech

I have just been to see the much talked-about film with Colin Firth, and have to say I was most pleasantly surprised to discover how good it is. I am not a royalist, and find certain members of our British 'first' family, past and present, quite despicable. With this in mind I felt I might be wasting time on what could turn out to be just another sycophantic offering. Yet, apart from anything else, it was well written and effectively visualised. I later found out that some of the on-screen witticisms, that had some of the audience laughing out loud, had actually been uttered by the real protagonists. The story, seemingly spare, was the genuinely moving account of one man's terrifying fate – to become a public figure yet have no alluring public persona. Finding out about the adult Bertie/George, for me at least, meshed with Stephen Poliakoff's film about his brother Johnny, The Lost Prince. On a more prosaic level, Colin Firth must have had permanent jaw ache whilst filming, so rigid and clenched were his features. Give him that Oscar for the humanity he brought out of what could have remained as private a family tragedy as the loss of his epileptic brother! On the topic of actors, I was also fascinated to play 'spot the celebs' in their assorted cameo roles – Claire Bloom completely escaped me until the credits went up. Fancy having a seemingly affectionless mother like her, or Michael Gambon's damaged, bullying father. At the end of the screening the audience broke into applause – quite unusual!

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