Director: Tom Hooper
Writer: David Seidler
Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall, Derek Jacobi, Jennifer Ehle, Michael Gambon
Country: United Kingdom
MPAA Rating: R
Time: 118 minutes
Genre: Historical, Drama
USA Release: 11/26/2010 (Limited)
On DVD (USA): 4/19/2011
Awards: 4 Academy Award Wins, 8 Academy Award Nominations, 1 Golden Globe Win, 6 Golden Globe Nominations
Like they say behind every great man is a great woman but in the case of “The King’s Speech”, it was a noble man who stood in the shadows with the guiding light that helped a great man become even greater. Based on a true story that has been unknown to many people including myself. Bringing inspiration and hope to not only people struggling with the same problem but for anyone. In addition to it coming out of nowhere to take to main prize in award season for Best Picture it also received awards for Best Screenplay, Best Directing and Best Actor. To no one’s surprise this movie is brilliant and so there is no need to wonder if it is going to be good, all I can say is when you watch it just sit back and get ready to enjoy this magnificent film.
“The King’s Speech” centers around the life of Prince Albert, Duke of York (Colin Firth) who while at a event has to make a speech, only problem is he has a stammer, something a person in his position definitely can’t have. So his wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) sets out to find a doctor that can help him overcome his “disability”. After countless appointments with various doctors, none are any closer to helping him lose his stammer. Until Elizabeth comes across Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian speech therapist who thinks he can really help get him passed his stammering. Although at first the Prince wants nothing to do with it, thinking that like the rest he has seen, that Lionel is just another joke, but Lionel soon proves what he can do. But the question isn’t whether the Prince is willing to push himself to get over his stammer, it’s whether he is willing to let things from his past surface so that he can finally get rid of his demons. Based on the inspiring true story of Prince Albert, later to be King George VI and how he formed a life long and unlikely friendship with his speech therapist and overcame a problem that he never thought he could.
“The King’s Speech” is much more than an look back in history, although it is woven together quite nicely by director Tom Hooper and writer David Seidler it digs deeper and shows us how although they comes from extremely different backgrounds, no matter what your status is you can form a friendship. This film also does a nice job transporting you back to England in the 1920’s and 1930’s, really giving you a feel for the time and showing you what was going on. I enjoyed the cinematography of Danny Cohen who use of location not only inside but out was brilliant. Also his use of the close up defied some of the tension between the characters and or the problem they were facing. Added was the great score that not only incorporated the time period but was also all it’s own. But what leads the charge is the story that gives us a historical look behind the scenes of how a monarch is run. It lifts us up with inspiration, showing us that although he went through a lot of physical and emotional abuse that led to lack of confidence causing the stammer, he is slowly able to control and start to overcome it. Also seen is something that during that time and not to different to today was a friendship forms between royalty and a commoner, that although unlikely, if you look past labels is absolutely possible.
What skyrocketed the movie to fame, making it award season bait was in addition to the directing and writing, was the superb acting done but the three leads, all of whom were nominated for Academy Awards. Helena Bonham Carter’s performance as Elizabeth was understated as was the character, although she was royalty for however long, she still kept her essence of being a commoner, never using her status. She was polite and endearing. Carter seem to play the character as she really was, although she was reserved, she was still a strong woman that stood behind her husband no matter what. Colin Firth who in 2010 was shut out of winning Best Actor for his role in “A Single Man”, finally won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of King George VI, after back to back nominations. A performance that comes to no surprise to fans of Firth who over the years have come to expect great performance with every role he takes as we saw in last years “A Single Man“. But it was the physical demands that set him apart for others nominated this year with the task of having a constant and believable stammer. With this and other amazing performances from his other film, he has become one of the best actors of this time, making the list with so many others from over the years. Although this was Colin Firth’s movie, Geoffrey Rush was constantly stealing the movie away with every scene he was in. He gave an amazing performance that unfortunately didn’t win him the Oscar, but should have hands down. Rush’s Lionel gave a friend to King George VI, someone that he could open up to. He unlike The King’s family (excluding his wife and kids) gave him confidence instead of tearing him down. Lionel knew that George’s stammer wasn’t physical but that it was the result of something mental streaming back to his childhood likely with his father/family.
All in all this is one of the years best films, with outstanding performances by the entire cast. Brilliant writing and directing, that helped get this film the Oscar, with it’s inspiring look at the difficulties resulting with a stammer while at the same time destroying the bridge that divided royalty and commoners. This film also is a great historical film that while giving you a great story provides you with a look into past events.