The King's Speech is a remarkable film!
Consequently, I was not surprised when the stellar Weinstein production rustled up a-dozen-or-so Oscar nominations on these shores at the crack-of-dawn this morning!
In addition, the Colin Firth vehicle nabbed a Producer's Guild Award, at the Producers' swanky annual Black Tie Soiree over the weekend.
The Darryl F. Zannick Award - which equates to a "Best Picture" nod in Oscar-speak - usually signals voting trends in the rarefied air over at the Academy of Arts & Motion Picture Sciences.
Critical acclaim aside, the high-brow offering is also being hailed by theatre-goers as a Masterpiece.
I whole-heartedly agree!
Indeed, English loyalists (and others) are just now tracking down the film for screening purposes around the country in anticipation of the upcoming 83rd Annual Oscar celebrations in Hollywood.
When the first scene flickers to life on the silver screen - even the most critical filmgoer can't help but be swept up into the lush period piece - which focuses on a little-known drama that unfolded behind-the-scenes when a Playboy Prince - the Duke Of Windsor - announced his intention to relinquish the English Throne in order to pursue an American divorcee he'd prefer to live in "sin" with (if necessary).
By now, many of the intriguing details of the run-a-way hit have leaked out - thanks to a dotting press - leaving little mystery about the plot line surrounding this passionate true-life-tale about a love that dared speak its name (and suffered dire consequences as a result).
According to the filmmakers, once King George V's eldest son begged off on his official role as the King of England, his younger brother - the Duke of York - was forced to step up to the Royal plate to take the reins with some reluctance.
Although Historians and Englishmen (in general) are familiar with the tawdry details of the "Simpson" affair, few were aware of ffrenzied behind-the-scenes maneuverings to force a stiff upper lip among handlers and politicians alike when the issue of King George VI's stammering came to light.
The King's inability to effectively communicate with leaders on the World Stage - and his peoples - must be kept under wraps at all cost for obvious reasons!
In a nutshell - "The King's Speech" is a dramatization of the Monarch's struggle to come to grips with the troubling speech impediment - and an awkward relationship which develops unexpectedly with a commoner who offers up helpful counselling capable of rectifying the problem.
For the greater part of the flick (which flies by, so engrossing is the footage) the drama zeroes in on the King's dreaded fear of being unable to effectively interact with his subjects - and thus - the unusual steps he undertakes to overcome a dilemma which threatens to topple the Empire shortly after he is forced into the limelight when war was declared with Germany.
Because the richly-textured project takes a departure from the norm - the material is elevated - and succeeds in conquering new narrative ground.
This especially rings true when "The King's Speech" explores - with great agility (and a lot of levity) - the issue of class distinction.
The touchy relationship between King and subject is turned on its ear at one point - then respectfully righted in a delightful inspiring way - that ends up resonating to the core.
Although the glossy flick is basically a drama - there is a lot of comic relief and side-splitting fun - that breaks the ice now and then during the course of the two-and-a-half-hour production.
For example, when the speech therapist observes that the King doesn't stutter when he swears, George VI erupts into a chorus of guttural curses that not only end up loosening the tongue - but also sending a torrent of words trilling trippingly off the tongue with eloquent ease.
A string of - sh**s, fu**s, - and what-have-you - never sounded so sweet before in my humble opinion.
Understandably, the house falls down in the aisles laughing uproariously.
In this version of the "Simpson" scandal, the Duke of Windsor's lover has been painted in an unlfattering light.
Normally, the uppercrust (and Historical biographers) have referred to Mrs. Simpson as a classy dame - the eptiome of style - who won the Prince's heart by virtue of her dazzling persona.
Here, the producers have depicted the interloper as a scarlet woman out to scoff up Palace spoils.
In some respects, the material reminds me of the hatchet job that was recently performed on Queen Elizabeth a scant couple of years ago in another feature film.
If anything, I expect the writers on both occasion, took a lot of poetic license.
Personally, in respect to the issue of Mrs. Simpson, I find it highly doubtful that the Duke of Windsor would be so easily hood-winked by a classless golddigger!
One fly in the ointment, as they say!
As to the performances, well, they're all stand out characterizations.
In recent years Colin Firth has been hailed for his fine performances in a handful of films (mostly produced overseas) under Iindependent banners.
In "The King's Speech" the talented actor is a tour de force to reckon with.
Indeed - his fleshed-out characterization of George VI - is literally spellbinding.
The Envelope, please!
Likewise, Geoffrey Rush once again establishes that he, too, possesses a remarkable gift for acting that appears to be bottomless.
The two in concert together make wonderful music!
A must-see 5 star feature!