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Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Critic's Speech: A Review for "The King's Speech"

In this late hour, 12:46 in the morning to be precise, and perhaps the most fateful in Oscar history, I send to every household of all moviegoers, both at home and overseas, this message.  “The King’s Speech” won the Academy Award for Best Picture and deservingly so.  The film possesses all the necessary elements that make it worthy of its golden accolades. It is about overcoming personal demons.  It is about quiet heroism.  It is about the value of genuine friendship and the importance of true familial love.  It is about humility and noble intentions. It is about personal sacrifice for the good of all. It is about fighting evil, yes, I am referring to the Nazis.  But most importantly, it is the most British film of the year.  Despite its minor historical shortcomings, the film is inspiring and captivating.  It may not appeal to most internet-raised and technologically savvy younger generation, but it serves to remind us that a King and a commoner are equal, and even a King can be humble enough to appreciate profound friendship, and to reward it. Many of you may be rooting for “The Social Network,” which is a film that is perceived to speak to the youth.  After all, what can a movie about a King’s stammer say to most of us Facebook-obsessed generations who grew up knowing Princess Diana as the only interesting monarch? Perhaps “The King’s Speech” has nothing exciting to offer us. After all, you cannot tweet King George VI’s speech, even if you try.  Many of us would prefer if the entire movie can be tweeted and be done with it so we can pay attention to more important matters like harvesting our crops in Farmville.
One undeniable reason why “The King’s Speech” won is that the film had better thespians.  Certainly, “The Social Network” had Justin Timberlake, many sexy supermodels and hunky twins, but fortunately, “The King’s Speech” had the mighty Colin Firth whose performance was enough to make Academy voters forget the rest of the Best Picture nominees. Supported by the inimitable Geoffrey Rush, the impeccable Helena Bonham Carter, the incomparable Derek Jacobi, the exceptional Michael Gambon and the versatile Timothy Spall, most of these underrated actors had already graced that multi-million dollar franchise called “Harry Potter.” 
In addition, director Tom Hooper and screenwriter David Seidler gave us a neatly woven story that is unpretentious and nostalgic.  There will be more gritty “Social Network” type of films in the coming years and so “The King’s Speech” may be the last outstanding historical drama to win an Academy Award, the next one may be 10 years from now.
However, the real deciding factor why “The King’s Speech” had triumphed despite its apparent handicap of being an old fashioned period movie is the fact that the film was made with only an 8-million pound budget, roughly 13 million American dollars. Yes, in spite looking regal with its many shots of palaces and actors clad in period costumes, the film was a bolshevik work of art. Its 8-million pound purse fails in comparison to “The Social Network’s” 40 million dollar budget.  On top of that, the latter film was about a 26-year old billionaire who may be richer than any living Head of State. This is the ultimate issue that concerns Oscar voters.  Art requires money to be made but money should not always be the concern of art. The Academy may be just in a crusade to combat the primitive doctrine that might, er, this time money, is right. And with your help, the movie-going public, may the Oscar voters prevail.


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