First a persuasive dismissive review from the New Yorker‘s Anthony Lane, and now a follow-up from N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis. Tell me how this doesn’t translate into some level of difficulty for The King’s Speech. And, unlike Lane, Dargis doesn’t even tumble for Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush‘s performances — she likes Guy Pearce‘s King Edward VIII instead.
“Like many entertainments of this pop-historical type, The King’s Speech wears history lightly no matter how heavy the crown,” she says, adding that Firth and Rush are “solid” but “too decent [and] too banal, and the film [is] too ingratiating to resonate deeply.”
Pearce, however, is “fantastic…mercurially sliding between levels of imperiousness and desperation, he creates a thorny tangle of complications in only a few abbreviated scenes, and when his new king viciously taunts Bertie, you see the entirety of their cruel childhood flashing between them. By the time he abdicates in 1936, publicly pledging himself to Mrs. Simpson (‘the woman I love’), turning the throne over to King George VI, Edward has a hold on your affections.”