Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Madness of King George

Still reeling from the loss of the colonies five years later, King George III seems to be losing his marbles. He's throwing fits, becoming forgetful, and making lewd comments to a chambermaid. As his discontented son, the Prince of Windsor, sees this as an opportunity to seize the throne, the King is whisked away to a nearby locale where he is subjected harsh and ineffective treatment. Then, with only his queen and prime minister looking after his interest, a modern thinking psychiatrist's methods may help restore the King to his normal self and reclaim the throne. From a play and screenplay by Alan Bennett and helmed by theater director Nicholas Hytner, The Madness King George is a literate and bawdy film. Featuring a brave and fierce performance from Nigel Hawthorne, reprising his stage role, he keeps the film going through periodic lulls. Also wonderful in the film is Helen Mirren as his lovely wife and Ian Holm as the strict psychiatrist, who is probably the first person to talk down to the King. The Madness of King George is worth seeing alone for Hawthorne's fearless performance. What, what?