Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Madness of King George

Not long after Nicholas Hytner's The Madness of King George begins, it's established that King George III (Nigel Hawthorne) isn't exactly in the right frame of mind. "It was something he ate!" Queen Charlotte (Helen Mirren) proclaims. But was it simply that?

In reality, King George spent the last years of his life blind and with the few remnants of his crumbling mind. But the film (and the play the film is based on) focuses on him during his middle age just as he takes a turn for the worst. (He insists he's "not mad, just nervous.") Everyone can see that something's not right with their king.

Enter Dr. Willis (Ian Holm), who was enlisted to aid the ailing ruler. He is a man with a saint's patience, which is essentially required for anyone handling King George's outbursts. Even though everyone (Charlotte in particular) wants the king to recover, the Prince of Wales (Rupert Everett) has other plans.

The actors are top notch here. Everett displays a smugness in his Prince. Holm, long before he went to the Shire, holds his own against Hawthorne. Mirren, amusingly cast as another Queen of England, acts as if she too on the verge of going mad following her husband's mental downfall. But the star of The Madness of King George is definitely Hawthorne. Reprising the role he originated on stage, Hawthorne completely makes the role his own, and it is glorious.

The Madness of King George is a really spectacular film. Rather than being a straight-up stuffy costume drama, the film is instead a playful stage-to-screen adaptation full of pithy one-liners. When you have the chance, be sure to seek it out.

My Rating: *****

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are appreciated. More so if they are appropriate.