6. Magic in the Moonlight (2014)
The story takes place In the late 1920’s in Berlin, a high class Asian magician is performing his act in front of a large crowd. To thunderous applause he comes off stage and is revealed to be an Englishman named Stanley (Colin Firth). He yells at his staff and is brusque with the people waiting for him in his dressing room.
He runs into a friend and rival, Howard Burkan (Simon McGurney), who asks him to France as a rich American family, the Catledges appear to be taken in by a mystic named Sophie (Emma Stone). In fact the young man of the family, Brice, appears to be infatuated with her and may try to marry her. Stanley has been famous for debunking mystics. Will he be able to debunk and save the family? And what about that fact that when he meets Sophie, Stanley realizes he has feelings for her?
The reviews were mixed. All the critics agreed that Colin Firth saved the film. Emma Stone was considered stilted compared to the rest of the cast and felt her line readings were too formal and not as relaxed as the rest of the cast. Despite Woody Allen’s name on this, it was his lowest grossing film in years and did not make back its cost. Still this film is well worth seeing since Colin Firth is in top form.
5. Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)
This was the first film directed by Peter Weller, based on the novel by Tracy Chevalier as adapted by Olivia Hetreed. It is about the artist Vermeer and how he came to paint the title portrait.
Colin Firth stars as Vermeer and the movie is written with minimal dialog to convey feelings by looks and gestures. Colin did much research on the role, learning painting techniques, researching everything about Vermeer he could get his hands on, which wasn’t much as the painter is little known. He created a Vermeer who worked in area of calm despite a jealous wife and many children.
With cinematography made to look like a Vermeer painting, his character blended well. The film did very well at the box office with much praise for Colin’s performance.
4. Love Actually (2003)
Written and directed by Richard Curtis. This is a Christmas themed romantic comedy involving several intertwined stories. It shows different aspects of love in nine stories.
In Colin Firth’s story, he plays Jamie, who is going to another couple in the film’s wedding, while his girlfriend (Sienna Guillory) is sleeping with his brother. Breaking the relationship, he goes to his cottage in France, where he meets the housekeeper Aurelia, who only speaks Portuguese.
Despite this, Jamie and Aurelia realize they have much in common. Jamie returns to England, realizing he loves Aurelia and starts learning Portuguese. He returns to France to propose in halting Portuguese. She responds “yes” as she has been learning English. Colin plays a man who discovers love very well, showing all the wonder and amazement of a new love. In the epilogue, a month later, we learn that Jamie and Aurelia have been married.
Made with a star filled cast, the film won generally positive reviews, did great box office, and was nominated for several British film awards. A bright, funny film that romantics will treasure.
3. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
In 1973, Control (John Hurt), head of British intelligence, sends an agent to Hungary to get information from a Communist Hungarian General, but he is captured and shot. Due to the botched job, Control and George Smiley (Gary Oldman) are forced into early retirement. Control has been ill and dies. Percy Alleline (Toby Jones) is named the new head with Bill Hayden (Colin Firth) as the second in command.
Smiley comes out of retirement to investigate the report that there is a double agent. Smiley finds out that Hayden is having an affair with his wife, and another agent Tarr has begun an affair with a Soviet spy in Turkey to find out what she knows. She demands his help to get her safely to America in exchange for information, Smiley finds there are four suspects known by code names Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, and Spy. Will Smiley find the mole?
The reviews were generally good. The cast was praised especially Gary Oldman and Colin Firth, and the script was admired. However, many critics said it was tough to condense a novel that long into a two hour film. They also compared it unfairly to the 1979 seven part British miniseries. It did quite well at the box office, grossing $80 million on a $28 million Budget.
2. A Single Man (2009)
Colin Firth stars as George Falconer, who is a British University professor living in Los Angeles. He dreams of the auto accident that killed his gay partner eight mouth ago. He wakes and in a voice-over talks about his loneliness and depression and that he plans to kill himself that evening.
He meets a female friend for lunch and has drinks with an attractive college student that evening. As the date progresses, we see flashbacks to his 16 year love affair. The young man goes home with him and keeps George’s gun from him. George realizes he still has a life to live and locks away the gun.
Colin loved making this movie and was very disappointed in the marketing as he felt they de-gayed the poster and trailer, he felt it was a beautiful film of love between two men, and believed that it should be shown, not censored. He won many awards and was proud he refused to play the character as a stereotype.
1. The King’s Speech (2010)
Directed by Tom Hooper from an original screenplay by David Seidler, this is an historical film about King George VI (Colin Firth), who suffered badly from a stammer. He began seeing Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to gain confidence and help his stammer.
The men work together and become friends, and when George’s brother abdicates to marry Wallace Simpson and become the Duke of Windsor, George has Lionel help him by giving his radio speech to declare war on Germany in 1939.
Seidler had begun the screenplay in the 1980’s but at the Queen Mother’s request waited until after her death to finish it. Colin played George VI and was very realistic to the real King. He worked very hard to learn the stammer, and then during the film, it showed up as more real when he was working with Lionel to tone down the stammer so he could do the radio address about entering World War II.
The performance was highly regarded by critics and he won the Oscar for his performance.
Honorable Mention: Pride and Prejudice (1995 TV Miniseries)
While the previous twelve were strictly theatrical films, it was this role in six episodes made for British and American Television that made Colin Firth a superstar. Colin stars as Mr. Darcy, the moody, stand-offish Neighbor of the Bennetts. Due to misunderstandings between himself and the second oldest daughter Elizabeth, they are at cross purposes until Elizabeth learns of his truly kind and loving nature and agrees to marry him.
Colin, in the early episodes, plays a tortured, bitter man. He gives his all to the role. What really made him a star was climbing out of a river in a wet shirt. He played the second half even better pouring out his heart and soul in a letter to Elisabeth. In all, a thoroughly well rounded portrait of a man who is redeemed by love. Appearing in the U.S. on the A&E network over two nights, it received great reviews and excellent numbers of viewings.