“The King’s Speech” & “The Fighter”
I said I’d post a statistical analysis of this year’s Academy Award nominations this week. The data is still being compiled and I will break it up into installments. The first chunk will post tomorrow.
In the meantime, I will write about two Best Picture nominees I have seen this weekend — “The King’s Speech” and “The Fighter”. I initially did not have much interest in seeing either in the theater, after having watched the trailer for each. Nothing about them really interested me. But their numerous nominations have forced the issue, and I am now glad that I have, in so much that I can now render a verdict unto both films.
“The King’s Speech” is a good but not great film. Colin Firth does an excellent job as the stammering Prince-turn-King George VI and Geoffrey Rush is the calming, informal, effective speech therapist. The scenes of the therapy sessions are the highlight, especially when the therapist encourages the Prince to let loose with a long stream of invective. And I was impressed with the immense space of Westminster Abbey. But I can’t say it’s a movie I really want to see again. Once felt like enough.
“The Fighter”, on the other hand, is a wonderful movie. I admit, it has all the hallmarks of a Hollywood boxing movie: the come-from-behind aging boxer reaching at one last chance for a title shot, the dysfunctional family holding him back, the opponent in the Big Fight who is so tough he refuses to shake hands before the first round, etc. But the execution of the film makes it work, and the acting is first class. Christian Bale is Dicky Eklund, older brother and coach of Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and crippled by a crack addiction. Bale absolutely deserves the Oscar he’s been nominated for. He steals every scene he’s in. Fellow nominees Melissa Leo and Amy Adams are excellent as the domineering mother and the sexy, quick-witted girlfriend, respectively.
So my updated recommendation for 2010 films is: “The Fighter” is an excellent film worth catching on the big screen, whereas “The King’s Speech” is worth renting when it comes out in a few months. Having now seen 9 or the 10 Best Picture nominees, I can confidently declare “The Social Network” as the best of the lot, and would be somewhat disappointed if “TKS” won.