Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 3 December 2010

FilmWatch: Kings & Swans

Here’s my FilmWatch information on two newly released arts-related films: communication arts and dance. Enjoy the end-of-year film-fest!

The King’s Speech

Colin Firth in "The King's Speech"

84 Metacritic rating (out of 100)
Tells the story of the man who became King George VI (Colin Firth), the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George (‘Bertie’) reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stutter and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country into war.
Rated R for some language.
“Its great distinction grows out of dramatic inventions and dazzling wit. The King’s Speech is a captivating fable of egalitarianism, a battle royal between social unequals that turns the combatants into cherished friends.” (Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern)
“Let’s say it without equivocation: Colin Firth deserves an Oscar for his lead role in The King’s Speech as the stammering King George VI.” (USA Today, Claudia Puig)

Black Swan

Natalie Portman in "Black Swan"

76 Metacritic rating (out of 100)
Nina (Natalie Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily, who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side — a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.
Rated R for strong sexual content, disturbing violent images, language and some drug use.
“[Director] Aronofsky blurs the line between reality and fantasy, turning the film into a gothic horror show that is fascinating and disappointing in equal measure. What’s resplendently real, though, is the beauty of Ms. Portman’s performance. She makes the whole lurid tale worthwhile.”  (Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern)
“A full-bore melodrama, told with passionate intensity, gloriously and darkly absurd. It centers on a performance by Natalie Portman that is nothing short of heroic.” (Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert)

Metacritic’s proprietary Metascore carefully curates a large group of the world’s most respected critics, assigns scores to their reviews, and computes a weighted average to summarize the range of their opinions. The result is a single number that captures the essence of critical opinion in one Metascore.
Metascores, which range from 0-100 (with higher scores indicating better overall reviews), are computed only when they have collected at least four critics’ reviews. Metascores may be thought of as falling into the following categories:

81 100 Universal Acclaim
61 80 Generally Favorable Reviews
40 60 Mixed or Average Reviews
20 39 Generally Unfavorable Reviews
0 19 Overwhelming Dislike

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