This is one of the better films I've seen in a while.
The family relationships in this film were beautiful to behold. After a steady diet of films modeling rebellious teens, feministic women, and either tyrannical or weak fathers, this film was a breath of fresh air. The king's daughters treasure him, his wife supports him, and he, speech impediment and all, is still a loving, kind, but strong Dad. There are a couple possible slight hints of feminism, but overall I really enjoyed the relationship between the king and queen. She was an encouraging, supportive, and strong helper to her husband- he was a loving leader who in the end faces his fears and successfully broadcasts.
The speech therapist, too, has a great relationship with- *gasp*- his teenage son! Wow! Indeed, his entire family was again a refreshing model of love and unity as a household. There was one son who had a bit of 'tude, but even he can't help but smile at his father's Shakespeare interpretations.
The older brother of our hero is an immoral and loose man- but he's also portrayed as a confused and weak man, at best. Handsome, yes, dashing, and able to speak much better than his brother- but without anywhere near the depth of character, and the film brings that out well.
I was really happy to see the portrayal of a healthy, close relationship between two men without a bunch of allusions to homosexual perversion. They were not only both married, but they were very much in love with their wives and families. They were just good friends! Refreshing- and it's sad that it's such a rarity anymore.
We also see the simple power of speech being illustrated. "Like apples of gold in settings of silver..."
Again, this film was simply a breath of fresh air from a worldview perspective.
The overall sermon of the film? I guess it would be something like we need to conquer our fears and do what needs to be done, and friends can be very helpful in this- all very true!
The swearing is what gave this film its R (which is now a PG-13- apparently an edited version was released?). Looking at a site like Kids-In-Mind the film looks like it must be littered with filthy language. As it is, there is one scene with highly concentrated swearing- the king-to-be is with his speech therapist and the speech therapist starts him swearing, presumably to loosen him up. Colin Firth then rattles off a stream of curse words, with his therapist's encouragement, in a rant that ends with him looking bashful and the boys in the other room asking their dad if everything is OK. There are a few other curse words throughout the film, but that's the main part, and it's cast in a highly humorous light. Definitely not the same as an angry Jason Bourne or Will Hunting swearing throughout the film.
Which brings up a good question that I ponder... would God laugh at that scene? I know I did. I thought it was hilarious. Maybe I shouldn't. May God continue to refine!
Really, without that scene, a few other curse words, and some mild discussion of adult themes, the film could have been PG, easily.
The worldview of modern psychology seeps in through the speech therapist. He seems to blame much of what has happened to the king in his past for what he's going through now. While it is good for us to realize just how much we affect our siblings and children, ultimately the king is responsible before God for living in fear. Be careful lest we say- rightly so!- that his parents, his siblings, his nurses were cruel, and then conclude that it's their fault. It is still his responsibility to respond to life from a God-centered perspective. They did wrong, yes. It's not an excuse for him to shirk responsibility as well.
There were a couple parts that were a bit irreverent to God- especially their line on the poster, "When God couldn't save The King, The Queen turned to someone who could." Not good, not funny. Fear God and tremble before you say that He cannot do anything. (In fact... who are you to say that God didn't save the king by sending the someone who could?)
Probably my biggest issue, though, was that when the king- not the king whom the film centers on, but his older brother, who held the throne for a short time- is living an immoral life, and wants to marry a divorced woman, which as the (unBiblical) head of the Church he is forbidden to do, the comments of the heroes of the film are along the lines of "I don't care who you carry on with at night so long as you do your kingly duties in the morning." That's not OK. What you do at night is just as much a part of you (maybe more!) as what you do in the day. All of it must be submitted to God.
Wow. Lots. The cinematography was striking, distinctive, and beautiful- the sets grand and believable. The use of the fisheye lens was very effective and fitting to the story- it made the king look all the more awkward and lonely.
The score by Alexandré Desplat was beautiful and fitting. Much enjoyed by yours truly.
The acting was excellent. Colin Firth really sold his part.
It was definitely a first-class film, artistically.
Honestly... there was very, very little about this film, if anything, that I didn't like from an artistic perspective.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film. With cautions as to the language being given, I still heartily recommend it. 4.5/5