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November 26, 2010 by · 5 Comments 

Amid all the hoopla surrounding an abundance of big-budget movie titles occupying theater marquees this weekend, a small film called The King’s Speech, being released only in Los Angeles and New York, is quietly garnering much of the season’s Oscar buzz — and some of the most enthusiastic reviews of the year. “The film is a colossal triumph on so many levels that it’s a challenge to know how to begin to describe it,” comments Peter Travers in Rolling Stone. And Christy Lemire of the Associated Press raves, “The film is so flawlessly appointed and impeccably acted, you can’t help but succumb.” Although she compares them with the mismatched couple in director Todd Phillips’s comedy, Due Date, the couple here, she notes, are portrayed by two “esteemed” stars, Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. Directed by Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech stars Firth as the stammering future King George VI (Queen Elizabeth’s father), Rush as his speech therapist, Guy Pierce as the brother who abdicated “for the woman I love,” and Helena Bonham Carter as the future queen. And while a movie that focuses on a king and his speech therapist sounds like something uncovered at a dusty BBC storage facility, critics are almost unanimously finding it enthralling and predicting an Oscar win for Firth. Indeed, Claudia Puig in USA Today is doing so “without equivocation,” writing that he portrays the king “with nuance, dignity and humor, leaving an indelible impression.” In the New York Post, Lou Lumenick writes, “You probably won’t find a better performance on film this year.” And in the Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern comments, “What Mr. Firth makes of his role is sheer magic.” The rest of the cast does not receive the standing ovation from the critics that Firth does, but neither are they denied bountiful praise. Geoffrey Rush, the New York Daily News‘s Joe Neumaier observes, “plays up and flouts the difference between king and subject.” Travers, in Rolling Stone, remarks that “Rush chows down on this feast of a role, jolting the movie to life.” Put Firth and Rush together, says David Edelstein in New York magazine, and you’ve got “a prizewinning combination.”

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