Reviewed bySimonJackVote: 9/10/10
I'm writing these comments about "The Madness of King George" becauseof the singular outstanding performance by Nigel Hawthorne. This is oneof the most versatile roles in films in decades. It surely ranks amongthe very best of all time. As King George, Hawthorne covers a range ofemotions, personalities and temperaments not often found in film roles.His character is a study in transition from the serious to the sereneto the silly. It's a role of drama, of hilarity, of ego and stuffiness,of pathos, of sorrow and regret, and of gentleness and kindness. Whatan exceptional acting job.
Most often I watch a movie for the whole experience, taking in theplot, characters, acting, scenes and scenery, location, action,intrigue, comedy, tragedy, as a blend of the whole product. All ofthese weigh in and affect how much I enjoy the film. But half waythrough this film, I became aware that I was more engrossed in the leadcharacter himself, and the great diversity and excellence of acting ondisplay.
Others have commented that Hawthorne should have won the Best ActorAcademy Award for his role in 1994. While I like Tom Hanks as an actor,I agree that his role in Forrest Gump wasn't anything exceptional.Certainly not on the order of "Mr. King" in "The Madness of KingGeorge." Indeed, Hawthorne must have had to work on his role -- even asa consummate actor, if not for the variations of mood and portrayals,at least for the vast amount of lines he had to speak in the film. Bycomparison, the Forrest Gump role had a very small amount of lines, andthose were far less taxing to an actor. Hanks' was a role that seemedmore fun and easygoing than a challenge or demand.
I'm not one to complain about Hollywood (except for the low quality andvolume of attempts at humor in the past 20 years), but once in a whileI think that many others who make the same observation are right on.Hollywood flops big time in its Oscar choice of an actor, actress orfilm once in a while. It seems to me that the California-based Academyat times doesn't look as objectively and honestly at films producedoutside the U.S. Nothing else produced in 1994 even came close to theoutstanding acting by Hawthorne in this first rate film.
Reviewed byMarty-GVote: 8/10/10
A great performance from Nigel Hawthorne makes this movie very enjoyable.His portrayal of the 'Mad King' is in turns entertaining, poignant, sharp,and commanding. The rest of the cast back him up well. The conversion fromstage play to screen works well here... the production design is excellent,and the direction is dynamic enough to ensure that the movie never drags.Best of all though is Alan Bennett's script which is full of wonderfullycomic and intelligent soundbites. This is a sumptuous period drama which isnever too intense, but at the same time never too pithy, and it makes forvery pleasant viewing. The film never takes itself too seriously or getsbogged down - after all, what other 18th century costume drama can boastsuch lengthy discourse regarding the constitution of a British monarch'sfetid stools?
Reviewed byFramescourerVote: 7/10/10
I've recently revisited the third Blackadder series. Nigel Hawthornedoesn't play his George III quite as spoony as that of the Curtis/EltonBBC series who wants his son to marry a pot plant, but it's close.
The film works because of three things. First - always first - is AlanBennett's screenplay which is succinct and hilariously funny. It isalso unbearably sad at choice moments. The actors - the second successstory of the project - throw themselves at the pathos as furiously asat the comedy. There's camp and potty humour (literally) juxtaposedwith the bare quoting of King Lear and it all works.
Thirdly, there is an attention to the detail which goes beyond costumeand design. Hytner has got his cast to play out humans inside 18thcentury character roles - there's no false reverence or manneredacting.
Nigel Hawthorne is brilliant, playing out a human despite the vastlyinflated ego he has to inhabit either side of sanity. All others aspireto this lead, with only Ian Holm (naturally, as his temporarilydomineering doctor) matching it. 7/10
A meditation on power, and the metaphor of the body of state, based on the real episode of dementia experienced by George III (now suspected a victim of porphyria, a blood disorder). As he loses his senses, he becomes both more alive, and more politically marginalized, neither effect desirable to his Lieutenants, who jimmy the rules to avoid a challenge to regal authority, raising the question of who is really in charge.