The Thanksgiving weekend box office may have been ruled by Harry Potter and Disney's Tangled, but director Tom Hooper's The King's Speech won a different prize: It earned the most money per theater this year, albeit at only four theaters. More importantly, it won near-universal critical acclaim. Is this film, featuring Colin Firth as a stutter-plagued Duke of York in the 1930s, the best movie released this year? (Watch the trailer for The King's Speech)
The movie is fun, and fantastic: The King's Speech is certainly "one of the best of the year," and its "sublime" performers "should prep some Oscar speeches," says Matt Stevens in E! Online. The premise sounds like a "boring Brit drama," but when Firth and his unorthodox speech therapist, played by Geoffrey Rush, "circle and spar," it's "as rousing and nail-biting as a climactic boxing match" — "Rocky with royalty."
"The King's Speech stands out as one of the year's best"
King's Speech is good, not great: Yes it's a feel-good movie, larded with "heaping spoonfuls of sugar," says Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. But despite "impeccably professional" performances from Firth and Rush, this "pop-historical" gem "wears history lightly." And as the Duke's stutter vies for your attention with the more gripping woes of his older brother, King Edward VIII, you see "hints at a more interesting movie than the one before you."
"The King's English, albeit with twisted tongue"
Enjoy it for what it is: Don't watch this mostly true story "as a quasi-documentary," says Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. It works best as a "captivating fable of egalitarianism," executed brilliantly. "No screen portrait of a king has ever been more stirring" than Firth's George VI, and Hooper's direction is "nearly flawless." Even if Oscar passes it over, "The King's Speech is one of the most pleasurable movies to come along in years."
"King's Speech: Wit, warmth, majesty"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How to be charismatic, according to science
- Don't argue about politics this Thanksgiving. Just don't.
- Head to head: Wild vs. supermarket turkeys
Subscribe to the Week