Tag Archive: colin firth

Dir. Tomas Alfredson
(2011, R, 127 min)

I saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with a friend of mine. “I’m … confused,” she said as the end credits began to roll. “Me too,” I concurred. We were both relieved; at least we weren’t alone. As she reported to me later, she encountered a woman in the ladies’ room with whom she discussed the story. My friend gave our interpretation of the ending. The other woman implied we were mistaken but was coy about the details, saying, “You’ll have to read the book.”

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There came a moment early during the evening when I, and I’m sure many other close Oscar watchers, thought the foregone conclusion of The King’s Speech winning Best Picture might not have been so foregone after all. At the beginning of the show, Tom Hanks presented the first two categories, Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography, mentioning an odd, mostly irrelevant statistic: no film had won those two categories as well as Best Picture since Titanic. The first envelope opened and Art Direction went to Alice in Wonderland. Then Cinematography went to Inception. So much for that.

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Dir. Richard Curtis
(2003, R, 129 min)
★ ★ ★ ★

Here’s why I love Love Actually: it’s not perfect, but in its occasionally awkward, occasionally sitcomish, rough-around-the-edges way, it’s poetic. Ranked among my top twenty films of the last decade, it opens with a thesis so optimistic it’s square: that in the midst of post-9/11 anxiety is an undercurrent of love, seen at airports in arrivals and departures, reunions and separations, hugs and kisses. Love, it says plainly, is all around. You don’t even have to look very hard to find it.

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Dir. Tom Hooper
(2010, R, 118 min)
★ ★ ★

The King’s Speech is burdened with self-ascribed import. It tells the story of King George VI, who ascended to the British throne in the years leading up to the Second World War. He suffered from a stammer that, at the dawn of the age of radio, crippled him as a leader. But of course by then the British monarch was a figurehead who, as George himself admits at a moment of self-doubt, appoints no government and makes no command decisions. As the symbolic representative of the British people at a time of crisis, his words had meaning, but the film almost gives us the impression that George’s improved speech all but won the war. As he steps out onto his balcony, received by his adoring subjects, the film seems to say, “Problem solved! War’s over! He successfully read a prepared statement!” (The specific words chosen for that statement seem irrelevant to the story; all we’re told before it’s put in the King’s hands is that the speech was approved, by someone or lots of someones who presumably know about such things as proper word selection at a time of war.)

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Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, in 'A Single Man'

Dir. Tom Ford
(2009, R, 97 min)
★ ★

Even the music makes me want to kill myself,” said a man a few rows down from me during the closing credits. I laughed; sometimes someone just says it all … Read the rest of my review at Culturazzi.org