The King’s Speech: El Rey del Mambo

20 Jan

More ink, virtual and otherwise, has been spilled about The King’s Speech than about any film in my memory. Every day another Guardian blog jumps on the bandwagon: stammering, audience demographics, republicanism or – admittedly less often in the Guardian – royalism. Then there’s the rumours of an Oscar boycott, or the Golden Globes (including a bonus short feature starring Ricky Gervais).

I’m not sure there’s any stone left to turn but, on the grounds of it being inexcusable to ignore the cinematic event of the year, here’s my ha’porth:

Did I like it: Yes

Did I cry? Disappointingly no. Having turned up carefully prepared with a large handkerchief, in the end a few fierce blinks sufficed.

Did it make me think about life, the universe and everything? No.

But if that appears to damn with faint praise, it shouldn’t. The King’s Speech is easy on the eye and beautifully acted – by Firth in particular. (For the record I hated A Single Man, although I accept I’m in the minority.) It also has some great quotes, of which my favourite has to be: ‘Do you know the “f” word?’ Ffff… fornication?’

Mostly though, it’s fabulous to see that ‘British film’ and ‘breaking box office records’ doesn’t have to be an oxymoron – the mere fact of arriving at cinemas to be greeted with queues and sold out signs is exciting. Also, I chose the words ‘cinematic event of the year’ with care. It may not be my film of the year, but in terms of getting people talking about cinema and off their sofas and into the pictures, it deserves all the praise that’s being heaped upon it.

One Response to “The King’s Speech: El Rey del Mambo”

  1. steve February 25, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    I see your point here, though not entirely, and I personally did feel a little emotional during the final speech and the accompanying montage and music.

    The film could not be more zeitgeisty. Basically this film was all about The Big Society. That’s what the montage was all about (groups of self-helping all in it together citizens). Noticeably all the positive figures in the film were decent and companionable (George, Liz, Stanley Baldwin, Logue) – whereas the more iconoclastic were either repellent (Edward VIII) or weird (Churchill). Note also the element of Logue’s amateur dramatics – everything was Big Society! Burke’s little platoons!

    And I think the emotional charge of the speech came through the juxtaposition of the two “overcomings” – Britain overcoming Germany, and George overcoming his stammer – seeming to say that even those highly private victories we have, to the protagonist, might involve feats of the same magnitude, but on a micro scale, of full scale conflict, on the macro.

    Obviously the soixantehuitards (who I consider soixante retards) won’t like this kind of thing, but I do!

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