Time to ignore the ridiculous PG-13 cut, the backlash from those who thought it robbed The Social Network of a Best Picture Oscar, and the condemnations that it glosses over certain political issues (This isn’t about the life of the soon-to-be Prime Minister). The King’s Speech is a very fine comedy about reconciliation between classes, how royalty does not negate one’s humanity, and the healing powers of vocal exercises. Colin Firth plays Prince Albert, Duke of York and later King George VI, whose lifelong struggle with a stutter leads him to get help from a local, Australian-born speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). The pairing of the two actors is exceptional, especially in how Firth handles the stammer as an extension of character instead of an affectation and Rush remains unflappable in every moment of their lessons together. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Rabbit Hole is about parents attempting to deal with the loss of their young son, and it is a blunt, honest, and unflinching exploration of grief. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play the couple, at odds with each other in how they handle their lives after tragedy. She wants to throw away or donate all of their son’s possessions; he clings to a video of the boy he took on his phone. She hates group therapy; he finds it helpful. David Lindsay-Abaire’s screenplay (based on his play) is full of cunning insight, and the film unfolds with heartbreak, unexpected humor, and, above all, hopefulness. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Sofia Coppola’s cinematic naturalism, which attempts to recreate the rhythm of life, is not for all tastes. I’ve heard Somewhere called “boring” by more than one person, and yet, I can’t help but admire this slow, small, and sweet film about a famous actor (Stephen Dorff) who realizes he hasn’t been there for his daughter (Elle Fanning) as much as he’d like. It’s about the inconsequential moments in life–lounging by a pool, playing video games, listening to a musician–that mean everything to the characters on screen and whose significance is left to the audience to divine. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Finally, here’s one I didn’t have the opportunity to review. The Way Back is based on the true story of a band of escapees from the Gulag, who travel from Siberia to the Himalayas for their freedom. It’s a sluggish bit of survivalism, more about the hardships than the human beings who endure them–a disappointing travelogue of despair from director Peter Weir. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.