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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 16, 2011

The Kings Speech is overrated

WE’RE GLAD that “The King’s Speech” is released locally even if only on a limited run in Makati cinemas, unlike previous award-winners like “The Queen” and “Crazy Heart” that were never released here at all. The film is directed by Tom Hooper, who previously made such impressive works on TV like “Elizabeth I” with Helen Mirren and “John Adams” with Paul Giamatti. It starts in 1925 when Prince Albert (Colin Firth), the Duke of York who’ll later become King George VI, delivers a public speech and he stutters. He’s only second to the throne of their father King George V (Michael Gambon) as the immediate heir is his older brother, the Prince of Wales, Edward (Guy Pearce, who looks younger than Firth), who’ll later abdicate because of his love for an American divorcee. His wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), consults an Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), to help him but he is hostile at first. But with the help of Logue, the future king is able to surmount his stammering at a time when the world was on the brink of World War II.

It’s to the credit of Hooper that he made a film about the speech impediment of a British royal quite an absorbing crowd pleaser. Told with a touch of humor, it’s presented like an inspiring movie where there underdog hero overcomes the odds. It also offers excellent ensemble acting, from Firth and Rush who have perfect on-screen chemistry as unlikely buddies, to Bonham Carter as the smart, supportive wife, Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill, Derek Jacobi as Archbishop Lang, and Jennifer Ehle as Lionel’s wife.

But although we like the movie, we still believe that it’s “Social Network” that should’ve won the best picture award in the last Oscar race. Just like “King’s Speech”, it’s also based on a true story but it’s a more accurate and timely reflection of our times showing the founding of Facebook, an internet networking site that’s meant to connect people but became a blood sport for its instigators who indulged in a lot of double dealing, backstabbing and betrayal. Structured as a series of flashbacks meant as testimony given in two separate trials against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (played with much astute understanding by Jesse Eisenberg with ratatat delivery of lines), it’s written and presented with awesome scripting, editing and directing skills. How this excellently crafted that mirrors today’s generation’s sad state of greed and materialism could have won over a film about a prince who got his stammer from being a lefty who’s forced to used his right hand will be a mystery to us.