“The King” Movie Review

Story posted November 7, 2019 in Arts & Entertainment by Jade Campos.

Timothée Chalamet broke onto the popular film scene in 2017 following his groundbreaking performance of the gutsy role of Elio Perlman in “Call Me By Your Name.” Since then, Chalamet has been a favorite among film goers who admire his effortless talent for the art.

“The King” has been long awaited by fans of Chalamet as he rode high on the critical acclaim for his recent work in “Beautiful Boy” and “Lady Bird.” The actor has become comfortable playing characters who are emotionally disgruntled and confused  — the same is true for his role as Henry V.

Based on the the “Henriad” plays by Shakespeare, “The King” follows Henry V’s rise to the crown after his lifelong refute of his inheritance. He resents his father, Henry IV, whose reign lays heavily on the act of war. However, he finds himself handling the diplomatic decisions of England after his father and younger brother both pass away.

The film was initially released in select theatres on Oct. 11, though was distributed to a wider audience on Nov. 1 when it was put onto Netflix.

There have been many remakes of Shakespeare’s “Henriad” plays, and “The King” offers a little more to the viewers. It is rooted in scenery that even the most passive movie fan is familiar with. While the plot is certainly well done, and the set and costume design is breathtaking, the acting is truly what elevates the film from “good” to “great.”

Chalamet, as always, is absolute perfection. Henry V is not a typical character fans would imagine the actor playing, though he proves that he is versatile and makes the role one of his own. In fact, he is able to turn a classic role into one that is purely Chalamet-esque.

Henry V is transformed into a classical character of Chalamet, not Shakespeare.

The most awe inspiring moment of the entire film derives from Chalamet’s own pure talent as the film reaches its peak. After moments of defeat and betrayal, Henry V is forced to make a decision that puts him at odds with everything he’s always opposed: he must choose to go to war.

As he looks upon the trusting faces of his soldiers, Henry V delivers a chilling, motivational speech. It’s nothing like Chalamet has ever done before. Pulling from every emotion of every character he has portrayed, Chalamet releases an unnerving cry. “We are England,” he shouts, making the audience feel as if they are a part of the experience.

Chalamet is the best part of the film. He is so genuine and in touch with his character, even one as seemingly far removed as Henry V. There isn’t a single moment in which the audience does not feel Henry V’s emotions as Chalamet has laid them out so openly for all to see. One cries when he cries, and feels betrayed when he does.

Apart from Chalamet, the supplementary actors were able to shine on the mainstage as well. Robert Pattinson displayed his versatility as the villainous Dauphin. However, the most charming job was done by Joel Edgerton as Falstaff, Henry V’s longtime friend. Edgerton adds humor, wit and humbleness to a film with otherwise rather serious undertones.

An incredible facet of “The King” is the ability to keep audiences in the know with every transition. The direction is incredible, as Shakespearean plays and films can sometimes be difficult to follow. However, the film moves at a steady pace, which allows viewers to stay caught up as well as entertained.

“The King” may be one of the many notches in the belt of Shakespeare recreations, though it is a major step forward in Chalamet’s career. While it is certainly a culmination of his roles in Hollywood thus far, one wouldn’t say it is the climax of his career. Instead, it’s nearly the beginning of a new stage in his life of acting.

Rating: 4/5



Jade Campos is a sophomore majoring in print/digital journalism. To contact her, email jmc7727@psu.edu.