Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Long live 'The King's Speech'

Jennifer and I took in "The King's Speech" last night after a fine dinner.

I'd been wanting to see it even before Sunday's big buzz. Didn't make it. I rarely get to the cinema anymore. By the time I turn around the bloody picture's on DVD anyway.

With "The King's Speech," director Tom Hooper and screenwriter David Seidler have crafted a good film. Stirring and thrilling and all of that. I admit to feeling a few chills run up my spine. Whether it was by manipulation or merit is moot. They were there. That is enough.

I cannot tell you whether this is the Best Picture of the year. I haven't seen "The Social Network." (It's in my Netflix queue, but the entire country must be renting it, because it keeps slipping into second place.)

But it is a solid piece of a storytelling with fine acting by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. To tell you the truth I liked Rush the best. Firth was fine, though. He deserves his Oscar.

I'm not going to bother with synopsis. You either know the plot already or can find it elsewhere. Short and sweet, "The King's Speech" is about a stutterer who happens to be King George VI and the elocutionist who assists him.

Yes, the film has the added attraction of being true, more or less. It's a movie, which means it takes liberties with history. For some reason, this has driven Christopher Hitchens nuts. He's right, but then again, he's an ass. An intelligent ass, but an ass nevertheless.

Word surfaced this week that an edited version of the film is being planned to cash in on the Oscar glow. From what I understand, the new cut would remove a scene or two involving the f-word in order to downgrade the MPAA rating from R to PG-13.

This is a travesty on a number of tiers, the main one of which is that the f-bomb scene is one of the film's best. The crowd at Regal Cinema Downtown West laughed loudly, and appreciatively, at it. To cut it in order to make more money is shameful. This film has already proven it can stand on its own. Leave it alone.

Speaking of the crowd, I'd almost forgotten how pleasant it is to see a good movie on the big screen with a group of adults. Nobody talked. Nobody texted. Such behavior has kept me at home in recent years and that's too bad. Movies are meant to be experienced, together, on a big screen.

My friend Matt and I plan to watch "The Social Network" on Sunday after the NASCAR race. I will let you know what I think about it.

For now I'll say that this film is grand indeed. It's a throwback to the Golden Age of Hollywood in the sense that it offers a solid story and awesome acting and an ending that will make you feel, well, like a king.

Long live the King.

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