Do you suppose King Edward VIII and King George VI (also know as David and Bertie in King’s Speech) could feel the weight of history pressing on them? They are poised on the edge of history, but in the time the movie chronicles, did they know how close to the brink they? Did Edward VIII know what he was walking away from when he abdicated? Could George VI sense the weight of the mantle that he was about to take around his own shoulders? These are the questions that raced through my mind as I settled in to watch The King’s Speech. Obviously the movie cannot answer them for me, but I felt the actors had asked themselves the same questions. This is how good the acting is- at no point did I think of Colin Firth (who plays Prince Albert/George VI) as Mr. Darcy, my favorite role he’s acted.
On the other end of the movie spectrum, we have Black Swan. Honestly, it’s probably the better movie, but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much because it is intensely disturbing. Nina (the main character) lives with her mother in a thirteen-year old’s bedroom, complete with pink bedding and stuffed animals lined up on the window sill. She is fragile and innocent, perfect to dance the part of the white swan in Swan Lake. She is also cast as the Black Swan, who seduces the White Swan’s one chance for true love. We watch as Nina changes, descending into madness as the part of the Black Swan takes over. It was fantastic, but hard to watch.
I watched both films as part of my crusade to have seen the movies nominated for Oscars this year. Having seen Black Swan, I can tell you it was robbed, and the Oscars haven’t even aired yet. There is simply no way it shouldn’t have won for costume design (which I know isn’t a big deal, but hear me out) and it wasn’t even nominated. The costuming of the ballet was perfect, and the costuming of rehearsal? Nina starts rehearsing in white but as madness slowly warps her, she begins dressing in subtle shades of grey. It was beautifully symbolic and subtle and should have won the Oscar.