Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The King's Speech- My impressions

Poster for The King's Speech
Last night, my husband and I drove to Toronto (about 90 minutes from here) to see this wonderful film.  I was afraid that my expectations were too high and that I would end up disappointed.  I was not disappointed.

It only opened in 5 theatres in all of Canada this weekend, so we bought our tickets online and drove in early.  We ended up in line about an hour before showtime and there were already at least 50 people ahead of us.  My social husband (I like to call him the Squire) started chatting with two ladies in front of us after they asked us to hold their spot in line.  It ended up as a hilarious dissertation by the ladies on why my Squire could not just put on Wellington boots and end up looking like Mr. Darcy.  "It's the brooding, you have to be brooding and mooning... you can't just put on the boots!"   He looked slightly crestfallen as they were laughing at him.  I told the ladies to watch out for Jennifer Ehle as Lionel Louge's wife as she likely wouldn't look much like Lizzy Bennet anymore, especially dressed in 1930's fashion.
Geoffrey Rush as speech therapist Lionel Logue
Then as the earlier showing of the film started pouring out, another slightly older lady came up to the four of us and said "You are going to love this film.  Enjoy it!"  Now we were really getting excited.  It was a sold out show and we had our popcorn.
Colin Firth as Bertie (King George VI) in full uniform
The film itself is a story of friendship developing between two men from very different backgrounds.  At the beginning of the film, Bertie is the Duke of York and he is seeking out the help of speech therapist Lionel Logue because his stammer is interfering with his public duty.  This is a prince who has had no contact with the common man and an Australian who has never encountered royalty and doesn't buy into the British class system.  The plot concerns the lead-up to the speech, The Speech, where Bertie (King George VI) has to get on the radio and tell his people that for the second time in a generation, their country was going to war.  Not just any run of the mill speech.  That is a lot of pressure for anyone, never mind a King with a stammer who thinks that everyone prefers his brother who had recently abdicated in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
A sweet look between King Bertie and Elizabeth (the Queen Mum)
So I won't tell you any more about the film, other than that Jennifer Ehle does not look anything like Lizzy Bennet in this (except for her little mole on her left upper lip) but there is a really funny scene with her and Colin Firth together on the screen again.  This must be weird for her as she and Colin Firth had a fling during the filming of Pride and Prejudice.  It would be sort of like running into an old boyfriend at a party I would think.
Anyway, there are many other familiar faces in this such as David Bamber (Mr. Collins from P&P) in a very brief cameo.  There are quite a few Harry Potter alumni also such as Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) as Elizabeth (Berties wife and the future Queen Mum) looking as sane as we have ever seen her onscreen.  Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew) as Winston Churchill was a bit of a stretch, but Michael Gambon (Dumbledore as well as appearing in most Period Dramas) always gives a great performance, here as Bertie's father King George V.
Poor Bertie with one of those anxiety causing microphones

On the way out of the theatre, I overheard a teenage boy behind me say "Thanks for dragging me to see this Dad.  I thought it would be boring but it was great!"  So feel free to drag family members, even teens to this.  There is some swearing (although only for comedic effect and the teens will think it's really cool anyway) so you may want to prepare Grandma if you are taking her.  The music is fabulous and the Squire leaned over during the dramatic speech and whispered "They're playing Beethoven's 7th", just in case you needed to know that!

I had tears in my eyes as I made the customary run to the ladies room after the film and I was not the only one.  I think the fact that my parents would have heard that speech on the radio, and my grandparents and even my great grandparents really got me emotional and even now the tears are pricking at my eyes.

So there is my enthusiastic review of The King's Speech.  Now go see it as soon as it comes to your city.


  1. Great to hear of your night with the King! ...and with the Squire!
    *sigh* It was an awesome film wasn't it? We're fortunate indeed to have seen it already since many are eagerly awaiting it to play in their cities. As for Beethoven's 7th, I had never heard of that before except for in 'The Fall' and I thought it was an original work. LOVED when they played it, what a way to send us out!

    Speaking of cities, my brother lives in yours ...well next door in K-town! :)

  2. Lovely post of your impressions of the movie. I am so eager to see this. I remember a quote from the war about this king, who many thought should be living somewhere other than in London b/c of the bombs. "The princesses won't leave without their mother. Their mother won't leave without the king. The king won't leave." That says a lot about the man and his family.

  3. @ Charleybrown-that's funny, your brother in Kitchener and my niece in Ottawa. Small world! Now I want to see TKS again with my girlfriends after Christmas. And then again with the extras on DVD. Sigh indeed...
    @ Mary S-The film leaves one with great fondness for the present Queen and her parents, and disdain for Edward and Mrs. Simpson. Apparently the Queen mum always called Wallis "That woman" and Wallis called her "Cookie"! Harrumph!




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