It had been a sad, strained Christmas Day for us this year, and so off to the movies we went for Boxing Day, along with many other burghers of the leafy suburbs over the Yarra. We were sitting in probably the closest seats to the screen, and who should be sitting behind us in the second closest seats to the screen but my good friend M.
The movie featured bravura performances from both Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. The embarrassment of the then-Duke of York’s speech at Wembley Stadium is still excruciating, and the movie succeeds brilliantly in channelling your attention away from the content of what he was trying to convey to a minute, breath-holding fixation on how he was saying it. The casting was inspired all round: you could see flashes of our present Queen in the young girl cast as the Princess Elizabeth, and Helen Bonham-Carter captures the vivacity of the woman we came to know as the Queen Mother before she became embalmed in dress coats and ostrich feathers.
It strikes me that poor Bertie was more exposed by live radio technology then than he would be today with almost effortless sound editing. Unfortunate, really.
Still, I can’t help wondering if “the firm” is not doing a job on us all through cinema- first Helen Mirren in The Queen, and now this movie. How cynical I am.