The King’s Speech

Saturday October 30th 2010

In their own uniquely British way, our awards-bait films are even more cynical than their American counterparts. Sure they’ve got classically trained actors, beautiful costume design and the requisite amount of ‘comedy swearing’ (maybe even a single ‘cunt’ if they want to get the broadsheets excited about ‘how refreshing it is to see a movie that isn’t running scared from the BBFC’), but underneath lies the same Oscar-hungry mind that’s ‘killing Hollywood’.

Such films have to be arty enough to get two thumbs up from Peter Bradshaw but not arty enough to alienate a multiplex audience. They’re intelligent enough to convince BAFTA members that they’re casting a worthy vote but not intelligent enough to scare off the casual cinemagoer. In short, there will be a dinner party discussion.

The King’s Speech (which, let’s not lie, is essentially a formulaic prequel to The Queen) is an archetypal example of this. It’s got plenty to admire (not least another phenomenal performance by Colin First – he sum kinda jeenyas) but when the credits roll and the lights come up, it’s difficult not to feel used.