In the mid 1930s, King George V of England is concerned about the immediate future of the monarchy. His eldest son David, first in line, is in a relationship with an American divorcee and thereby unsuitable, and his younger son Albert speaks with a stammer. When George dies, David takes over but soon abdicates, leaving Albert as ruler. A King with a stammer, especially in an increasingly communicative age, will not do, so he asks for help from a speech therapist called Lionel………….
The sort of film that automatically gets praised to the skies by the critics, I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, especially as I can’t stand the monarchy and consider them an irrelevance since the English Civil War. However, The King’s Speech is undoubtably a pretty good movie, though certainly not a great one-it suffers from murky and ill lit cinematography rather unfitting for the subject [maybe they were intentionally going for the opposite approach to the norm but they overdid it], and a King who doesn’t seem to make much progress in his speech therapy for most of the film then suddenly overcomes it. Plus if I hear those two overused Beethoven pieces used near the end in one more film I’m going to scream. Still, this does manage to be a quite compelling portrait of somebody overcoming what amounts to a disability [especially considering I personally used to stutter a lot and still do at times], and the final scene is pretty rousing – comparisons to Rocky are not entirely unjustified. Director Tom Hooper does all he can to make the static story cinematic, and the performances are superb, though I think Geoffrey Rush, as the King’s tutor, has been overlooked in the stampede to praise Colin Firth-he matches Firth in every scene they are in together, making their scenes terrific to watch and any scenes not featuring them not nearly as interesting. Not perfect, but I say to anyone who has no interest in this film and just considers it Oscar bait-give it a go and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I was.