How You Know Him:
As Fitzwilliam Darcy in the BBC’s 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice, in The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, as Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason, as Johannes Vermeer in The Girl with the Pearl Earring, in one of the more compelling stories in Love Actually, singing and dancing in Mama Mia!, garnering Oscar buzz in A Single Man, winning an Oscar for The King’s Speech, and threatening to break into dance during his acceptance speech. To name a view.
Why He’s Crushworthy:
There was a time, that people pretend that they don’t remember, when Colin Firth was not a household name. When he was just that guy who played Mr Darcy in that version of Pride and Prejudice we all watched in high school instead of reading the book. Before we realized that the entire female population of Great Britain was swooning over that scene where he emerges from the pond in a dripping wet white foofy top. You know, before Bridget Jones’s Diary when everyone jumped on the Firth Bandwagon and pretended that they’d been there all along.
But perhaps it’s more complicated that this. I’d certainly seen his version of Pride and Prejudice and enjoyed it. Even thought he was rather good looking for a guy in eighteen hundreds garb. I’d also seen him in the UK’s film version of Nick Hornby’s memoir, Fever Pitch, about a guy who’s obsessed with football to the point where it gets in the way of a burgeoning relationship. It was, of course, then Americanized with (gag) Jimmy Fallon. But I suppose, along with the bandwagon, it wasn’t really until Helen Fielding told me I should find him attractive that I really started to see his appeal.
I almost inserted Colin Firth into my Weekly Crush immediately after seeing The King’s Speech. It seems a strange film to spawn one’s crush on someone who could be quite easily considered a Hollywood heart throb, but upon walking out of that movie I found myself somewhat starry eyed thinking “Huh, crush on George VI, who would have thought?” Now, I know a lot of facts about history, but I don’t know enough specifics about this particular King’s brief moment (okay, in comparison) as monarch to know what was straight fact and what was shaped by smooth script writing and production tricks. I do know that Colin Firth’s interpretation of the unlikely king was… well, I don’t want to say cute, but another adjective is failing me. There is always something tragic and sad and still sort of wonderful about someone who never wanted a responsibility that is thrust upon them. Plus, he looks smashing in a top hat.
But seeing as how I’m only one in about fifty million who love Colin Firth let’s just take a moment to examine why.
See, the thing that Colin Firth does so well is create a sense of vulnerability to all his characters. They’re usually still strong, kind, and know what they want, but they’ve been wronged or hurt somehow in the past that makes them wary of stepping forward. Here’s a hint to all you guys reading this (which admittedly, this is a Weekly Crush about Colin Firth, there probably aren’t all that many of you); women like this. Women like to be the one who holds things together every once in awhile. You might have noticed, we’re sort of bossy. And we like being needed. We don’t necessarily want to be holding down the fort all by ourselves, but we appreciate it when you can show us that you need help. When you don’t, we just get frustrated. If you’re female, reading this, and shaking your head you might as well stop because 1) I can’t see you, and 2) you know it’s true. There is probably not another actor working right now that I can think of who does this so well.
Another thing women like; laughing. It’s cliché to say that women want a man who can make them laugh but it’s also true. Often a necessity. And while Colin Firth isn’t known as a comedian and is often lauded exclusively for his dramatic roles, he really is quite hilarious. Take for example the 2002 film version of The Importance of Being Earnest. This George Bernard Shaw play has been done in so many English classes and theatre departments that it’s almost old hat. Since it’s Shaw it’s undoubtedly a comedy, but in some actors hands it becomes bogged down and old fashioned. But with a cast that boasted Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Reese Witherspoon, Frances O’Connor, and Dame Judy Dench it became what it was supposed to be; really damned funny. Also, Saint Trinian’s. I talk about this film all the time, despite most Americans having never seen it, because there were so many people in it. Including Colin Firth. The thing with Saint Trinian’s is that it’s about a school filled with girls who blow things up, steal, make bootlegger vodka in a shed, and have the full support of the faculty; it’s not a good movie. It’s silly and amusing and fun, but it’s not a great movie. This is something that everyone would have known going in. Ruppert Everett plays the headmistress in drag for god’s sake. This is the sort of movie that actors do because they’ll have a lot of fun. I always respect actors for making those sorts of choices.
Sometimes I try to justify my Weekly Crushes. With this one it’s clear that there is no need. I’m just one in millions.