In other years, I might have thought that giving the Academy Award for best picture to the The King's Speech was a miscarriage of justice. The story usually is that a well-pedigreed, superbly acted but ultimately slight costume drama beats out a more adventurous and edgy film, aka The Social Network.
That wasn't the case this year. When some PR person asked me whether I was making a top 10 list for 2010, my reply was that if I did, there would be 10 films tied for 10th. There were a number of good movies last year, but none that stood out to me, and certainly some of the ones I liked probably weren't on the Academy's radar.
So The King's Speech will do. Colin Firth as the stutterer who would be king deserves his Oscar as best actor. He plays "Bertie," the shy second son of King George V (Michael Gambon), who becomes the British monarch after his brother, King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), abdicates to marry an American divorcée, Wallis Simpson (Eve Best, Nurse Jackie).
With the nation about to go toe to toe with Germany in World War II, it becomes imperative that the country have a king who can inspire the populace with his speech. Enter Geoffrey Rush as a self-taught speech therapist from Australia; between him and Bertie's wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), they save the day. So to speak.
Tom Hooper, a veteran of British television and the HBO miniseries John Adams, does a yeoman's job of directing. I wouldn't have minded Bonham Carter or Rush winning in the supporting category.
The King's Speech is a sweet story about a man overcoming a disability, entertaining and well-acted but not a heavyweight.
The King's Speech retails for $29.98 or $39.99 Blu-ray.