The Kings Speech
(2010)

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Directed:                 Tom Hooper
Screenplay:             David Seidler                           
Produced:               Iain Canning
                                 Emile Sherman
                                 Gareth Unwin
                                 Geoffrey Rush
Original Music:       Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography:  Danny Cohen

 

 

 

 

The King's Speech is a gripping historical film that deals with the fate of the world in drawing room fashion. The war that will engulf all of Europe has yet to begin but we are all aware of what's next and the pressure and frustration of awesome responsibility worn on the face and in the stuttering cadence of the future king is as tense as any panoramic battle scene. It's a tale of personal triumph over adversity, of finding confidence in yourself to be the man that many others already know you can be, of stepping up to do your duty even when others have let you down, The King’s Speech is all of this and more and it also just happens to be all about King George VI of Britain, a man who struggled through a large portion of his life under the awkward burden of a very, very prominent speech problem.

The true story of an unlikely king (Colin Firth’s George VI) and his debilitating ailment (a stammer that renders him almost totally incapable of performing the duties of a public king), the offbeat practitioner (Geoffrey Rush’s Lionel Logue, a speech therapist with his own cure for things) and the impending Second World War. What will likely surprise (and delight) most filmgoers who take in The Kings Speech is just how damn funny and enjoyable it is to watch play out on screen.

Firth delivers an impeccable performance. The emotions Bertie experiences jump from the screen the moment he appears. His conveyance of fear, frustration and fortitude are genuine and often expressed through only his eyes. In addition, the emotional pain his condition causes can be felt thoroughly by the audience. Rush is brilliant, but in a much subtler way. His role is to coax and encourage Bertie, which appropriately leaves him – both the character and actor – just outside the spotlight. Helena Bonham Carter plays the future Queen Elizabeth [Queen Mum] and is quite delightful. It’s funny to see Bonham Carter in a role that isn’t laced with darkness, quirkiness or slight lunacy and it’s also a worthy reminder of how good this English rose can be. Her Elizabeth is a mixture of concerned and supportive wife, staunch public figure and a woman of strong opinions.

Director Tom Hooper is very adept at producing these period pieces, having previously directed John Adams and The Damned United. Here, he masters the overview of one man’s history, displaying significant moments primarily over a two-year period. Nonetheless, we are given a well-rounded view and understanding of Bertie’s relationships, both personal and professional.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                           

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