Film Review: The King's Speech [dir. Tom Hooper; 2010]
There is much to enjoy in Tom Hooper's stylish dramatisation of the relationship between George VI and his speech therapist, Lionel Logue. The performances (particularly Firth's) are pretty much note-perfect, the period detail evokes an appropriate sense of pre-40s bleakness and the story raises topical questions about national identity and the need for authoritative figureheads. But in its (successful) attempt to tick all the right boxes, the film leaves almost no room for surprises. There's a touch of fairly predictable - but thankfully not over-emphasised - psychodrama, a scattering of near-sentimental, Oscar-friendly exchanges of dialogue and a disappointingly safe take on some of the supporting characters. If this sounds churlish, then call me an old killjoy, but I think a film needs to be a tiny bit braver to deserve the 'masterpiece' label that so many critics are attaching to this very polished and very entertaining piece of work.