I have finally been to see this film. We had a night out to the Ludlow Assembly Rooms, where this is showing for this week and next. Firstly, the venue. I have never been there before, so didn’t know quite what to expect. The screen is a reasonable size, and we had seats up on the balcony so the view was great. I had forgotten, though, what it is like to hear the sound of the projector throughout the film. For this one it added to the period feel, but it could be quite an irritation. The seats! we really had to cram ourselves in. If you have long legs and are planning to see a film in Ludlow, make sure you book an aisle seat. I am a reasonably average 5’6″, and my knees were hard against the seat in front.
Sorry for all the complaints, now for the good bits. We were handed out a printout of information about the film as we went in. Historical background, actors, director and how it all came to be on two sides of A4. This is not something you get at your average multiplex and, given the state of historical education, there is probably quite a proportion of the population who need to be told who George VI was. Secondly, the licensed bar. No popcorn here, or soft drinks bigger than your head, just a proper bar with proper drinks.
Of course the main good bit was the film. The King’s Speech really does deserve all the great reviews it has been getting. I thought Colin Firth made a wonderful Bertie, and Helena Bonham Carter was perfect as Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. The strength and support she provided for George VI was completely evident. Even Queen Mary’s old fashionedness and staidness came through in her few short scenes, highlighted by her still Edwardian style of dressing.
I have to admit to having been a Colin Firth fan for a long time. Pride and Prejudice has to be one of my all time favourite stories. To me, the book and film are the equivalent of sitting on the sopha*, wrapped in a blanket with a king size bar of chocolate. Jennifer Ehle as Myrtle Logue, with a fantastic accent added to this film. We had Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, so I was delighted to see Mr Collins make a brief appearance too.
Of course the story is nothing without Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue. He is one of those actors I know I’ve seen in loads of things, but can never think quite what. He really does seem to become his characters, and this one is no exception. He is brilliant from beginning to end.
Another reason to watch this film is the sets. From the walls in Logue’s rooms to the state rooms of Buckingham palace, they are beautifully displayed.
All in all I laughed more than I expected, I empathized more than I expected and I would recommend this film to anyone.
*spelling by Jane Austen