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
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- The rise of the global middle class is our best hope to stop climate change
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- 9 things you probably didn't know about the moon
- What I learned from totally unplugging and shutting up for three days
- Israel has only two choices: Eliminate the Palestinians or make peace
- Why America is duty bound to help Iraqi Christians
Subscribe to the Week