Movies that Don’t Suck: The King’s Speech


Let’s start the New Year off on a positive note, shall we?

Last Thursday during the tail end of the year, loaded up on delicious Chinese food from a restaurant with really cool mood lighting and cute teapots, Mr. B and I went to see The King’s Speech.  As we stood in line behind screaming teenagers and moms in mom jeans ecstatic to see Little Fockers, I knew I was in for a more genteel night because I’d be spending it with Dead White Guys instead of Ben Stiller’s crotch.

“When was the last time we went out together, at the same time, ” Mr. B asked me, and I honestly couldn’t remember. “Sometime in November,” I guessed, because that was when we went to the Ritz and saw a preview for The King’s Speech.   I squeezed his hand.

When we sat down, the previews were already playing.  Since the King’s Speech is technically an indie movie, the previews are also for indie movies, and the people that come up with marketing to the indie movie crowd are asshole geniuses, because we end up wanting to see all of the movies. As SWPL noted, “White people want to feel smart without doing any work.” Also, “White people hate stuff that is ‘mainstream’” Yup.

The movie was amazing, and it should win the Best Movie Oscar.  Rotten Tomatoes agrees with me. You should go see it.   What I loved most about it was that it doesn’t have lasers or naked chicks or quick and easy jokes or any 3D blue people.  Just a movie about a man, in this case the guy next in line to the throne, trying to overcome a stutter while the whole British Empire watches.  The movie has no war action and no sex (not even so much as a bare arm), but you can feel the tension of war in Albert’s father’s speeches and the strength of love in his wife’s glances at him nevertheless.

The real pleasure of the movie is in watching two master actors, Colin Firth as the king and Geoffrey Rush as his extremely unconventional speech therapist interact and navigate the thin line between friendship and duty to country.  Mr. B always makes fun of me when I say this, but watching good actors act is like looking at a painting by one of the Masters.  You know they know what they’re doing and they have control of the film.  You can relax in confidence that they won’t slip and have you believing to the last minute that the events of the movie really did take place.  There are very few actors I feel this way about and it is amazing to watch an all-star cast play against each other. It convinces me that you really do need talent to be an actor, not a feeling I always get when I’m watching, say, Avatar.

The sets and the costumes are equally as amazing and the story ends on a positive note, but it’s not saccharine sticky-sweet.  Just a movie that reaffirms my belief in humanity and the Western world to produce good films. And if you know me, that’s not an easy task.

P.S. Here are some other movies that didn’t suck.