With approximately 8 inches of snow falling on Kansas City this afternoon, the entire city apparently let employees go home at the same time, creating a brutal drive home. My commute is normally thirty minutes, which has been stretched to nearly two hours in similar weather. A movie theater happens to be down the street from the office, so I decided to catch The King's Speech and let the traffic clear. Excellent decision.
The plot of The King's Speech is the stuff Hollywood executives dream about: a speech therapist helps a member of the British royal family in the 1930s and 40s overcome his stutter. Exciting stuff, right? I'd love to see someone piece together clips from the movie into a fake action movie trailer. All kidding aside, the movie works on all levels, with a surprising sense of humor complementing the history. Colin Firth deservedly received most of the plaudits for his outstanding performance as the Duke of York. His stutter never seems forced, and he brings a unique humanity to a seemingly stuffy person. The Duke and his unorthodox speech therapist, Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush, do not have the type of Royal/commoner relationship normally seen in movies. Logue becomes a friend, as well as his instructor, even chastising his charge at times. Rush offers a perfect counterpart to the serious Duke, adding a sense of levity that elevates the movie above most period dramas. Both actors deserve the Oscar nominations they are almost certain to receive next week. Helena Bonham Carter is also a favorite for nomination. While she used to be the queen of the period drama, her parts anymore all seem to be oddballs that fit her marriage to Tim Burton nicely. Good to see her in something normal again.