Friday, December 31, 2010

'The King's Speech' Another Winner in Roanoke

The year ends, but the string of outstanding movies showing up in Roanoke doesn’t. Tonight it was “The King’s Speech,” a wonderful story (at the Grandin Theatre) about a King with a speech impediment that simply wouldn’t do for the leader of the free world and the man who helped him overcome it.

This is a wondrous vehicle for two of our finest actors, Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth as, respectively, the therapist and the king. Director Tom Hooper tells an engaging, sometimes irreverent and often funny story sprinkled with crackling dialogue of the relationship between this commoner with a special skill and the king who needed him. It is a true story told with marvelous period detail and cinematography that could pretty well stand alone.

Solid support is provided by Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen Mother and Guy Pearce as King George’s brother, David, who abdicated the throne “for the woman I love,” American divorcee Wallis Simpson. David and Wallis don’t come off well in this telling.

Like several of the other good flicks showing in town these days (scroll down for their reviews), this one has “Academy Award” written all over it, especially for spot-on performances by the engaging Frith and Rush, whose chemistry in this one is strong enough to be sent to the lab.

Go see it, but be warned: the Grandin is a small theater and the crowds are big. My guess is that they’re experiencing sellouts for the 7:30 and 9:30 movies, but the 5:15 is approachable. You can also expect to wait in a long line for your popcorn. There weren’t enough counter people working tonight and the theater lost a lot of concession sales to people who refused to wait in the line.

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