The King’s Speech [2010]

The King's Speech [2010]

The King’s Speech [2010]
Directors: Tom Hooper
Genre: Drama/History
Language: English
Country: UK/Australia/USA

Going into The King’s Speech, I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing it. I figured it would be a good movie since it was backed by a largely positive critical response, but it just didn’t strike me as something I wanted to watch. I knew the general premise going in — King George VI has a speech impediment and struggles valiantly with this problem before finally delivering a successful speech — and it just felt that watching something where I already knew the outcome would be less than enthralling. Well, let’s just say that I am glad that I caved in and finally watched this damn movie. It was refreshing to watch something inspirational for a change — it seems my movie-watching habits as of late have tilted heavily toward the dark side.

The King’s Speech excels for two reasons: Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. Firth’s performance as King George VI is nothing short of brilliant. Listening to him stammer with his words over and over again is heartbreaking, and it is hard not to empathize with his painful inner-anxiety. Geoffrey Rush’s role as Lionel Logue, the King’s Australian speech therapist, is what really pushes the movie into greatness, however. I was pleasantly surprised with Rush’s demeanor — Logue doesn’t take shit from anyone including the King, even going so far as to regularly call him “Bertie” rather than “Your Highness.” This is a man who plays by his own rules, and although the King’s extreme anger issues cause a number of problems between the two of them, it is clear that a deep mutual level of respect is present, no matter how difficult their relationship gets.

The King’s Speech is very much a two man show, and Firth and Rush both deserved their Oscar nominations. The supporting cast is good, led by Helena Bonham Carter as the King’s wife, and Guy Pearce as King Edward VIII (George’s brother), but they are ultimately unimportant in the grand scheme of things. This is very much an inspirational story — no unnecessary twists here — and you can’t help but feel satisfied with how things develop. I wouldn’t go so far as to say The King’s Speech is the best movie of 2010 as many are now doing (it is a little slow at times), but it is damn good and is certainly in the top 10.


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