I'd been excited on seeing trailers, but for whatever reason, when I actually had time to go see this, as of about 10 days ago, I was lackluster, thinking that it would disappoint me by being obvious Oscar bait. But tonight was the SOTU, and I found myself wanting to watch something other than the POTUS (though I did read the speech directly upon coming home).
It's a really lovely film, and what struck me about it most is that it's wonderful in a lot of different ways. I thought it would end up being a film about a stammer, and about that familiar narrative that reminds us that even the most powerful people need friends. But in fact, it seemed to be also a film about aging, and how our fears age with us, and about bravery, and about being constricted by formality (because it was about the constrictions that you can't escape, as well as some cheap narrative about overcoming them). I think it's probably a measure of the quality of the film making that many of the moments in the film were vividly portrayed enough that I thought of them as both their own, tiny, films, and as part of a larger whole.
Admittedly, I'm probably part of the target audience for the film: I struggled for years with speech impediments, including a stammer; and I still feel anxiety not so much about being in the spotlight, but being in the spotlight in a position of authority.
I did love it, though. Not once did I want to take out my phone and see what time it was. I don't think there's a bad performance in the whole piece, and the way the dialogue transitioned from the serious to the acerbic to the sentimental was marvelous. David Seidler, who wrote the screenplay, hasn't written anything previously that I think of as remarkable, so it's pretty interesting to me that this came out so wonderfully. Maybe it's an indication that he's a brilliant editor of other material, i.e. Logue's diaries, etc? I suspect, right at the moment, that the best screenplay award will go either to him, or to Christopher Nolan for Inception.
One final thing: I think this is the first Desplat score that I've actually liked.