Oh yes it made me cry at least once. Yes I was impressed with the music. Yes some of the acting was really nice, and yes Russell Crowe seemed not to fit in. Same stuff everyone else has said, I’m sure, but two months late.

Hooper is the guy who made The King’s Speech, and has apparently let the big budget and musical numbers fog his memory of how to effectively edit a film. Huge Ackman is the former criminal, pursued unto death by supercop Crowe. Huge’s ex-employee and future oscar-winner Anna Hathaway dies a miserable prostitute, so Huge rescues her little girl Amanda Seyfried from her horrid keepers, welcome comic-relievers Helena Baron Carter and Sacha Bonham Cohen. Seyfried falls in love with Eddie Redmayne, whose doomed compatriots (including some very good young non-movie-stars who make us forget all about Seyfried for a spell) attempt another French Revolution. Huge saves his adopted daughter’s boyfriend, then suddenly dies of old age so they can carry on.

Film Comment:

This movie is by definition hobbled, with no chance of equaling Raymond Bernard’s exquisite and resonant 1934 version of the novel, which unfolded over five luxurious hours. The stylistic elegance and visual coherence of that early French cinema adaptation have been traded in for an all-out sensory assault.

Jim Emerson’s hateful review round-up was pretty hilarious. “The actors are playing to the balcony while the camera (and those wide-angle lenses) push their faces into ours. It’s like Full Metal Jacket: The Musical! with all the parts played by R. Lee Ermey.”

Nominated for an ungodly number of oscars, winning picture, actor and director (over four of my longtime favorites: Fincher, Russell, Aronofsky and Coen). I smelled another inconsequential Shakespeare In Love and was prepared to be offended, but was crestfallen to discover that I really like the movie. It’s superbly acted, as we’ve heard over and over, but also very well written and even interestingly shot. Damn. At least Social Network got (adapted) writing and editing, both of which it richly deserved (sorry, Inception).

Simple story, really, with a built-in, historically accurate underdog triumph ending. The duke (who becomes king a couple years later) stutters horribly during any attempt at public speaking, so his wife turns to an uncredited speech therapist with unusual methods in a last-ditch attempt to help her husband, culminating in the new king’s first major radio address, declaring war on Germany in 1939. My favorite scene is when Geoffrey Rush’s wife discovers the king and queen in her husband’s grimy study, revealing to the king (and the audience) that Rush’s speech therapist has faithfully kept his famous student’s secret even from his own family for years.

Colin Firth, a longtime Katy favorite, did not disappoint (I thought he was better in A Single Man). Guy Pearce played a very convincing Brit. Good to see Helena B. Carter and Michael Gambon, too. I don’t know what the movie had against Winston Churchill, casting him as a toady Timothy Spall. Hooper previously made soccer movie The Damned United and the John Adams miniseries. Writer David Seidler worked on a couple of not-well-liked 90’s cartoon films and something called Kung Fu Killer. Shot by Danny Cohen (This Is England, Dead Man’s Shoes) with production design by Eve Stewart (Topsy Turvy).