Say ‘ello to his majesty this Christmas: THE KING’S SPEECH opens this Sat at South Lamar
Just in time for Christmas -- on the very day, in fact -- we're opening THE KING'S SPEECH at Alamo South Lamar.
And, as the Washington Post's Ann Hornaday puts it, the film "arrives in theaters like a big, shiny Christmas present to moviegoers, a cinematic stocking stuffer sure to please even the Scroogiest multiplex-dweller. "
Already nominated for 7 Golden Globes, THE KING'S SPEECH is like celluloid catnip for critics, topping end of year lists, sweeping the British Indpendent Film Awards and, naturally, generating heavy Oscar buzz. The thing is, the film is not your average ponderous but well-pedigreed Brit period piece. Naw, this little gem from across the pond about historical events little-known to us Yanks has big, crowd-pleasing heart.
"This is no simple elocutionary lesson," writes Marc Savlov of the Austin Chronicle. "It is, instead, a peerless period drama featuring a stammering, unsure, and borderline ordinary (as ordinary as a duke can be) man forced into greatness by history."
And, as Rolling Stone's Peter Travers raves: "It could have been a bunch of pip-pip, stiff-upper-lip Brit blather about a stuttering king who learns to stop worrying and love the microphone. Instead, THE KING'S SPEECH— a crowning achievement powered by a dream cast — digs vibrant human drama out of the dry dust of history. "
But sure, THE KING'S SPEECH has pedigree too. Actually, it's a veritable who's who of award-winning British and Australian actors, including Guy Pearce (MEMENTO, THE HURT LOCKER) as Edward, the King's brother who abdicates the throne to romance an American(!) divorcee; stalwart star of stage, screen, and TV Sir Derek Jacobi as the Archbishop of Canterbury; Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill; Michael Gambon as King George V; Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother; and Geoffery Rush as speech therapist Lionel Logue. (As much as we love their box office hits, it's really great to see these last four in a film that doesn't involve wizardy, pirates, or Tim Burton).
Then, of course, there's Colin Firth. He received an Oscar nomination last year for his turn in A SINGLE MAN and this year he could be lock for the win. "Let's say it without equivocation," says Claudia Puig of USA Today. "Colin Firth deserves an Oscar for his lead role in THE KING'S SPEECH as the stammering King George VI."
"It's rare to feel sympathy for someone so privileged," she writes of his performance. "[The King] comes off strikingly human, as close to an Everyman as someone of his status can be. There's nothing particularly regal or admirable in his frustration and despairing tendency to want to quit. Consequently, it's all the more compelling to see if he'll rise to the level required of a sovereign."
And, as Hornaday observed: "Firth has mastered what may be the most crucial ineffable element of acting: withholding everything from viewers save that tiniest, most crucial sliver of humanity to which they can completely relate."
Sure, lots of critcal hullabaloo can make for good pull quotes and awards, but it can make for boring moviegoing. But the film has even won over those skeptical of its accolades, like Salon.com critic Andrew O'Hehir:
I went to THE KING'S SPEECH completely prepared to dig in and resist it: a British period piece, suffused with imperial nostalgia, about a member of the royal family nobly battling a disability. Trustworthy people told me they loved it, but I knew better. Could such a movie be anything but sentimental claptrap, a prettified picture of a long-gone era when kings behaved like kings and commoners knew their place, shamelessly crafted to lure Oscar voters?
Maybe not. There's nothing I can tell you about THE KING'S SPEECH that contradicts that description, except that resistance is futile. It's a warm, richly funny and highly enjoyable human story that takes an intriguing sideways glance at a crucial period in 20th-century history.
THE KING'S SPEECH opens Saturday, Dec 25 at Alamo South Lamar. Get your tickets here.