The King’s Speech
Director: Tom Hooper
Stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter
Few might have guessed that correcting a man’s stammer would make for such a compelling, amusing and stirring movie, let alone one good enough to win Best Picture at the Oscars.
Even if that man is King George VI, father to Queen Elizabeth II.
But in the capable hands of director Tom Hooper (The Damned United), who guides Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush to winning performances as the stuttering monarch and his oddball speech therapist, this tiny tale opens up like the grandest of historical epics.
Set in the late 1930s, it’s based on historical fact. The Queen’s father overcame an almost paralyzing stammer, as well as family trauma, to become an inspirational figure to Britons during World War II.
The natural joke of pomposity punctured by a pauper fuels the humour of David Seidler’s lively screenplay, but Firth and Rush make it much more than just a clown act.
They bring empathy and wisdom to both roles, showing how all of us are held hostage by our fears.
Director: Sofia Coppola
Stars: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Chris Pontius
It’s the singular achievement of Sofia Coppola’s affecting new film that she manages to make us care for a dissolute movie star, his angry ex-wife and their indulged daughter.
The star is Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), who might be thought of as a pre-Iron Man Robert Downey Jr., although writer/director Coppola insists he’s a composite of many actors she’s met and seen.
I Love You Phillip Morris
Directors: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Stars: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann
I Love You Phillip Morris frequently leaves you wondering whether to laugh or gasp. That’s probably why it’s been in limbo since its Sundance 2009 debut, despite starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. The easiest thing is just to call it a love story.
This isn’t one of those polite films where the sex is in the shadows. Both straight and gay lovemaking is right out there in the open.