1) This film is rated R for one scene where (as most of you know, because the rest of the world saw it before I did) the Duke of York/future King of England/"Bertie" has a minor meltdown and his speech therapist goads him into shouting every curse word he can think of. Seriously. That is why the entire movie is rated R. There is no sex, no nudity, no violence. Possibly Colin Firth throws something, maybe. It is rated R because the MPAA has an arbitrary rule that you can get away with up to four non-sexual uses of "fuck" ("Fuck you") in a PG-13 movie; as I understand it, one sexual use ("I want to fuck you") takes you straight to R, except that I recall Clint Eastwood talking about persuading them to give The Bridges of Madison County a PG-13 anyway. So we've got a decorous British period piece about a king overcoming a physically and emotionally painful childhood, deep insecurity, and the speech impediment that has overshadowed his entire life, and because he happens to yell "SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK tits," we go straight to R. CAN'T LET THE KIDS SEE A MOVIE ABOUT OVERCOMING ADVERSITY, MIGHT CORRUPT 'EM. Meanwhile, kids are texting each other worse shit than that.
2) I don't think I'm going to be afraid of public speaking ever again.
3) Nobody had told me how fantastic Guy Pearce is in this. He really, really is. I felt really bad for laughing when they're at the king's deathbed and he flings himself on Queen Mary's shoulder--it was one of those moments where you kind of snorfle, but no one else makes a sound, and you're like, well now I'm an ass. But then Colin Firth is all like, "Seriously, what WAS that?," and I was like, oh, THANK GOD, that was supposed to be drama queenery (kingery? abdicating Duke of Windsory?). I spent all of Guy Pearce's scenes delighted by how thoroughly I wanted to punch him in the head.
4) That said, I am pretty sure Colin Firth should win an Oscar just for singing about his nanny abusing him to the tune of "Camptown Races" and not making it ridiculous. If you can pull that off, you win. This is not even to speak of stammering in a different accent--that very particular royal accent--and making it sound natural. Yeah. I see why he's the front-runner now.
4) "You had such a beautiful stammer that I was sure they'd leave us alone." Awwww. ilu, Helena Bonham Carter.
5) It did not occur to me until later why it would be particularly funny for Jennifer Ehle to go into shock upon discovering Colin Firth in her house.
6) You know, Alexandre Desplat composes beautiful scores, but I just don't know that directors always know how to use them. This is the second Desplat score I've heard where I just wanted someone to TURN IT DOWN at key moments so I could focus on what people were saying. But other movies he's done, I didn't have that problem--David Yates actually made really good use of silence in Deathly Hallows in addition to the Desplat score--so I don't think that it's him per se.
7) Speaking of the director, a lot of the camera angles seemed really weird to me. I mean, I know that was done on purpose--the camera tilted or off-kilter or looming over the actors, like Tom Hooper was doing it to emphasize the Duke/King's unease, panic, insecurity, and so on. That is to say, I think I know what he was trying to do, but the shot often seemed a fraction of an inch "off" in some painterly way I can't put my finger on. Like, do the same thing, but tilt/angle/move it over a squidge, and you might have achieved the same psychological effect more, uh, effectively. I don't know if I'm hallucinating this or what.
(I thought about not mentioning anything critical at all, but it seemed--I don't know, dishonest or cowardly not to say something I really think just because I know how much people love this movie. I really liked it, too.)
8) "I'm told that the wallpaper is really the star of this movie," said one of the friends I went to see it with. It really is lovely wallpaper.