The King’s Speech: Why Did It Earn Motion Picture of the Year 2011?
The King’s Speech is a masterpiece of a film, but why did it above all other films of the year rise to be the signature film of 2011? The answer is not simply that it is good, nor is it simply that it is great. If that was the case then there were other “good” and “great” movies nominated for the motion picture of the year spot as well. No, what sets The King’s Speech apart isn’t just the good Cinematography, Screenplay, Acting, etc. for while it had these in abundance the other candidates for the prize did too, and so in answering the question “Why did The King’s Speech earn motion picture of the year.” I will not be addressing the specific cinematic effects that were done so excellently, such as the score and the camera work, but more two of the features that make it different from other films, the ones that are done using the great instruments of film design but that are not exclusive to it. The first thing that I will address is the poignancy contained in each scene of the movie.
The thing that struck me most while watching The King’s Speech was how each and every shot and scene was made with a very clear message and a distinct point in mind. There were no car scenes where inane content was discussed on the way to a location, nor filler scenes that had very little impact on the personalities of a character. That is to say that there was no point in the film where I found myself getting bored or wondering what the point of a particular thing was. Now while I say that each scene was distinct it means that each one was emotional, powerful, and direct in it’s simplicity of meaning. This makes it very excellent for the viewer in terms of getting to know the characters in the film. No matter what or where the scene is there is someone in it that is having something said about them. Whether it be an expression of a temper when pressed with prying questions or a tired old man at
home with his family, each scene in The King’s Speech is a practice in deep, rich personalization of it’s characters. Many movies these days focus on what the characters are doing rather than the characters themselves, but for a movie that focuses on a relationship, getting us to focus on the characters and really love them, or not, is a tremendous work in and of itself in immersion of the movie. To see this film not only do that but keep each scene interesting and flowing while the movie goes on is a marvelous feat. The quality of scenes are very important in a movie, and The King’s Speech has some of the best out there.
The other thing that The King’s Speech has going for it is the content. Each movie has it’s story to tell in it’s own way. The King’s Speech’s story is a practice in typical Hero’s Journey film techniques, i.e. A protagonist with some sort of problem has to go through a series of obstacles helped by someone else, but with great personal achievement threaded in as well. The King’s Speech has a lot in it besides this going for it though, in assistance of it getting it’s Oscar. Firstly, many protagonists start somewhere low in life (Farmboy, etc.) In this film however the protagonist is the great Duke of York, who eventually becomes king, with a speech impediment that drastically inhibits his ability to speak publicly. This opposition of standard conventional placement helps set this film apart from other Hero’s Journey type films. Secondly, the film is based off of real events happening during the tumultuous time of WWII. It also utilizes well known and weighty names of the time, such as King George VI and Winston Churchill. This is a very emotion-evoking time period and it makes the movie’s content easy to relate to for the average Joe.
Now, not mentioning the fantastic acting from Jeoffrey Rush and Colin Firth, the excellent script writing throughout the entire movie, and the beautiful score from Alexandre Desplat, these are some of the reasons that The King’s Speech won motion picture of the year for 2011.