The King’s Speech: Let Courage Reign (2010)

Posted: February 3, 2011 in Biography, Drama, History

In a true story about the ascension to King of England, the battle with a speech impediment becomes a story of courage and the strength of a leader. King George V is on his death bed and passes the throne along to Edward VIII, who has his own controversial issues. Always in the background due to his stammer, Bertie suddenly finds himself in the spotlight as Edward no longer feels able to serve as king. Knowing that he must serve and speak more in the public eye, Queen Elizabeth sets out to find a speech therapist to help her husband, ending up in the strange office of Lionel Logue. Initially repelled by his unconventional methods, Bertie slowly warms up to the therapist. In turn, he both challenges his stammer and finds a friend to support his rise to the crown. With the impending coronation approaching and turbulence developing outside their borders, King George VI needs to address his people and represent the strong presence of the royal family.

Starring: Colin Firth (King George VI), Helena Bonham Carter (Queen Elizabeth), Derek Jacobi (Archbishop Cosmo Lang), Robert Portal (Equerry)

While already acknowledged with a Best Actor win at the Golden Globes, Colin Firth truly displays his prowess as an actor in this role. His portrayal of the king with the stammer makes you believe that you are looking at the real King George VI. He perfectly represents the status of the royal family and the struggles of a man working through his vulnerability. In two consecutive years, he has delivered powerful performances with characters struggling through significant personal dilemmas. Geoffrey Rush maintains great confidence and a side of humor as the speech therapist. As the strong-willed Queen Elizabeth, Helena Bonham Carter serves as a great compliment and supportive wife to the stubborn new king.

The hype around the movie was all about the acting, which definitely did not disappoint. The storyline was just as impressive. The movie starts with Bertie’s attempt to deliver a speech as a race, struggling with every single word. The opening scene provides that emotional frustration to commiserate with his stammer. While the next few scenes are a little slow in their development, the instant Geoffrey Rush enters the film, the fun and drama truly begin. Director Tom Hopper plays the two characters back and forth between humorous challenges and emotional conflicts. While watching Firth take on Bertie’s struggles, you quickly appreciate the dissonance between his desire to improve his speech abilities and to uphold his royal stature.

Firth and Rush truly make this film a huge success and deliver captivating performances worth seeing.

Dan’s Rating: 4.5/5

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