Oscars special: Kings and Swans

5 reasons to love quadruple-Oscar winning film “The King’s Speech”

1. Colin Firth’s Oscar acceptance speech

2. It makes history fun. Yawn yawn King George yawn etc. Think that kings and queens and period dramas make you sleepy? This won’t.

3. It is a film about a country going through a really difficult time, and I think everyone can relate to the need for strong governance. Hint hint.

4. The attention to detail is compelling. The microphone used in the film is an exact copy of the real one which the King used, and which is property of BBC Heritage (who – rightly – wouldn’t lend it out). The costumes and sets were all perfect, and the horses were positively best in show. The cast are all outstanding, including new faces (like “the girl from Outnumbered” Ramona Marquez as Queen Elizabeth).

5.  It’s genuinely moving. So now half of the free world are claiming to have a stammer, perhaps its being used as a new bandwagon like rehab or having a Nando’s gold card. Fortunately the film has brought much needed awareness to speech disabilities which don’t usually make it into Hollywood blockbusters. There are an abundance of films (A Beautiful Mind, The Soloist etc.) about mental disabilities but very few about physical, or as the Queen Mum in the film (Helena Bonham-Carter) puts it “mechanical” ones.

I like The King’s Speech A LOT, and that’s mainly down to the talent of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush…long live the UK film industry, despite Cameron culling the organisation which made this production possible – the UK Film Council. As always, get in touch if you have any comments, queries or just want to tell me how much you love Colin Firth.


No swan songs in sight for Nat (swan) queen (cole)

– Another film I’ve recently seen is Black Swan. Went into the cinema expecting pretentious nonsense from Aronofsky (it is a ballet film after all) but actually enjoyed it a lot. Natalie Portman definitely deserved her Best Actress Oscar for her role as tormented Swan Queen Nina Sayers (I meant what I said above about mental illness being a Hollywood go-to). I digress – Black Swan was fresher and more exciting than I’d expected, despite those slightly cringeworthy lets-throw-in-a-strobe-and-put-it-all-together-in-FinalCutPro club scenes. Without giving the plot away, Portman’s dedication to her role as the dichotomised dancer is such that her year’s worth of training can easily pass for a lifetime’s work; Natalie embodies Nina because I think the audience is actually watching her own struggles and triumphs in connecting with a new art form.

If our love wasn’t sealed, just look at her oh-so-classy and dignified acceptance speech. Not a hint of Gwyneth-esque blubbery:

Natalie Portman: Have we told you Swan Lake-ly that we love you?

A few excellent eccentricities of casting, such as playing Portman off against sleazy prof Thomas LeRoy (Vincent Cassell) and ex-ballerina Winona Ryder add to the quality of the film. Just don’t call Winona’s role as a hasbeen ironic – surely taking a lead role would have been more of an irony, plus she really enjoyed it by all accounts, describing it in an interview as a “juicy little hamburger” of a role. A WINona WIN situation all round then for the subversive starlet. Really liked Mila Kunis as Lilly – unfortunately not a contender for best supporting actress but then again perhaps this thriller was a bit too leftfield to dominate the categories (nominated in 5, won in 1), even in the year of the new revamped “indie” Oscars which are currently being panned…with good reason. Viewers prone to cringing, please avert your gaze. James Franco…I used to love you…

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