Being thrust into leadership during a period leading to war is one thing, having the world listening to you while you have a speech impediment acting as the leader is another. It’s something you cannot prepare for when your predecessor’s only major speeches are during Christmas time. A king who doesn’t want to be king, afraid of his own voice, but willing to undergo therapy to fix the stammer and be the man his family and country expects him to be. The King’s Speech is one of the best films of the last decade offering one of the most unforgettable performances in recent memory that of King George VI.
Even royalty can have its shortcomings – proof that no matter who you are, what your rank in society is; we are all human, we all have something we are embarrassed of. Human being are flawed by nature, no one single person is perfect. The film is titled impeccably, it’s simple yet effective in relaying its messages to the viewer. At first glance the caliber of the lead actors and actresses will steal your attention, but once this film has you hooked, you’ll be unexpectedly left speechless trying to find your voice. It’s only right that the film offers the best performance from the best film of that particular year.
Known to his immediate family as Bertie, The Duke of York, father to current Queen Elizabeth II (Colin Firth) has a speech issue that hinders him from speaking properly to large crowds and intimately into a microphone with maybe one or two people in the room. The Duchess of York (Helena Bonham Carter) hires a man that possess skills that no other doctor has, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Historical dramas can show the world in a different perspective only few who were close enough can actually understand. This is more than someone’s speech issues, at first, It’s about a surprising relationship that ends up as a remarkable friendship.
What makes this film special is its wonderful performances. Bertie desires to fix his stammering even before his father King George V (Michael Gambon) dies leaving the throne to Bertie’s older brother David (Guy Pearce). Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush have such a beautifully unique relationship that translates from script to screen flawlessly. Their chemistry together when it’s just the two of them in a room makes this film as compelling as it is while making world history seem interesting from the Monarch’s point of view. This film thrives from its dialogue when Bertie is in his most uncomfortable state. He’s unsure that he will ever quit his stammer given being gifted one of the best non-speech therapists around.
What makes this film even better is the point of view that King George is a complete underdog. Not many expect him to succeed with these classes regardless of his vast improvement when speaking in front of a small crowd. It’s clear the methods Lionel uses works well for Bertie as Lionel expects the two to be on the same level as each other – refusing to call him anything else but Bertie. If King George can think without stammering, he can speak without stammering. He can also swear and scream at Lionel’s neighbors pretty well too.
People fear what they don’t understand – especially those who are different or have a disability. Albert has a disability and you can plainly see how uncomfortable people are to be around him when he is attempting to speak. It can be extremely frustrating to those who just want to be seen as normal -proving to everyone around you that a disability doesn’t define you. A disability when harnessed correctly can be seen as a strength to prove those who whisper wrong. Albert did just that, his story is one of finding that strength within and showing the world he has one of the most powerful voices history has ever seen.
Albert becomes that leader albeit reluctant at first to take on the responsibilities of the greatest monarchy in history. His brother, King Edward VIII isn’t fit to be king – taking up with an American woman who is twice divorced, sympathizing with Hitler and his regime. Albert and David have a strange relationship where instead of supporting his brother and giving him the encouragement, he desperately needs, David mocks his brothers speech from such a young age to adulthood. Albert isn’t completely alone, his wife, Queen Elizabeth is the loudest supporter doing everything in her power to help the king.
Only historical facts can prove how this story ends – a king delivering a speech to the British empire to rally them against the tyranny and dictatorship that Hitler threatens the world with. Even the great Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall) confides that he too had a speech impediment that he conquered. With Lionel at his side mouthing swear words under his breath and crooning encouragement, King George delivers a near perfect message to his people despite a few pauses here and there. Their camaraderie prevails more so when Lionel is accused of treason. The two men’s ego’s, arrogance and ignorance aren’t too big to realize when one of them is wrong.
The King’s Speech is a witty, intelligent mesmerizing masterpiece that should be seen by everyone. It offers perspective to those who only view flaws as the basis to judge someone. It’s a film that many can relate to, including David Seidler who penned the screenplay – having a speech impediment of his own to overcome. The cinematography is beautiful, and the costume / set design makes it hard to look away. It’s hard not to gaze at the vintage clothing British royalty wore. The pacing is exceptionally well timed, and the score is magnificent.
This is the type of film that grabs you and doesn’t let go. It will steal your attention with every scene making it easy to not want to look at a phone or tablet. There’s a reason this film was the best of the year in 2010 and continues to be a modern classic. Tom Hooper’s direction cannot be ignored either, each shot is framed wonderfully as the actors and actresses become their real life counterparts. Of course, Colin Firth is the standout, every line of dialogue comes with the hope that he is getting better. The way he trains himself to speak with that stammer is impressive enough but with his diction and cadence, he is the only choice for the best actor award at the Oscars. If I were to rate The King’s Speech, I’d rate it a 5 out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen The King’s Speech and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
The King’s Speech is written by David Seidler and directed by Tom Hooper is Rated R and has an 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. The King’s Speech was released on December 25th, 2010 and has a runtime of 1 hour and 59 minutes. The King’s Speech can be bought online by retailers including Vudu, Google and Itunes.
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