The King’s Speech (2010)

The King’s Speech (2010)
  • Time: 118 min
  • Genre: Biography | Drama | History
  • Director: Tom Hooper
  • Cast: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter


Tells the story of the man who became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George (‘Bertie’) reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stammer and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue. Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country through war.


  • This film has taken a wonderful story from history and turned it into an inspiring movie. It tells the story of King George VI (Colin Firth) and his stammering issue and how he comes to rely on a common man Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to overcome his struggle. They come to meet by the persistence of King George VI’s wife, Queen Elizabeth, (Helena Bonham Carter). The film takes place during the time leading up to the beginning of World War II when Great Britain needed a great leader to hold the country together. Even though you know from history that everything works out, the film keeps you interested in the outcome and keeps you hoping for King George VI success.

    This is a film of a human story, it shows the struggle of a man overcoming his speech impediment so he can become the leader his country needs him to be during a time of war. What I like about this film is that it shows the human side of the King. It tells the struggles of his child hood and lets you see the potential of his great leadership, even though he doubts his abilities because of his stammering problem. You empathize for him whenever he struggles with stammering during important moments. Colin Firth does a wonderful job playing King George VI and does and outstanding job portraying the Kings speech impediment. Watching the banter between King George VI and Lionel Logue was one of the most enjoyable parts of the film. Firth and Rush did a wonderful job making their characters believable and interesting.

    The lighting in the film helps set the seriousness of the film and helps give it the period correct look. The director uses humor to help lighten the mood when needed so the film stays interesting and helps make the characters likable. He also uses a lot of close up shots of King George VI’s face when he struggles with stammering and it shows the pain and determination he is enduring to try and talk. Seeing the pain King George VI endures to overcome his fear, helps inspire the viewer to face their own fears and overcome them rather than be enslaved by them.

  • Tom Hooper, whose previous feature was The Damned United (2009) about Brian Clough’s short reign as coach of English football club Leeds United, now turns his attention to the British Royal Family, more specifically King George VI, who is played by Colin Firth in a great performance that would most certainly land him his first acting Oscar. Partnered by a supporting turn by Geoffrey Rush, whose role far exceeds the demands of a supporting character, Firth conveys his character’s feelings – mostly fear and frustration – with considerable ease and restrain.

    The King’s Speech, titled after the film’s emotional final act, is a performance-driven period piece set in pre-WWII Britain, a time of uncertainty as Hitler started to rise to power. Firth’s character, Bertie (that’s his nickname), reluctantly takes over the throne after his father’s death and his elder brother’s decision to relinquish his power because of marital reasons. Bertie’s reluctance stems from his tendency to stammer embarrassingly even when speaking to a friend, let alone addressing a whole nation on the brink of war with the Nazis.

    In comes Lionel (Rush), a self-proclaimed speech therapist who strikes up an endearing friendship with Bertie after initial animosity caused by conflicting views over the effectiveness of the former’s unconventional method of treatment. If there is such a thing called the buddy period drama, The King’s Speech confirms its existence. With gorgeous cinematography that is not too striking, and art direction that emphasizes on an understated elegance as opposed to an elaborate grandioseness, Hooper smartly allows the backdrop of the film to play a complementary role to his actors’ performances, rather than vice versa.

    The frequent use of long, narrow corridors by Hooper metaphorically parallels Bertie’s “suffocation” – his struggle to cope with the responsibilities of being a king, who ideologically represents the voice of the common man, but sadly in this case, a king who is unable to find his own voice is as powerless as the very person whom he is speaking for. Lionel slowly helps him to correct his stammer and find faith in his voice, building up to a rousing climax that gives new meaning to the power of friendship to transcend all barriers, be it physical, class, or culture.

    David Seidler deserves praise for writing an original screenplay that is so dramatically compelling that the lack of an antagonist is hardly noticeable, unless you collectively count Hitler (who is seen from afar in black-and-white news footage), Bertie’s stammer, and the microphone (a symbolic representation of Bertie’s faceless, implacable enemy) as “villains”. The King’s Speech is assured a spot in my Top Ten Films of 2010, and is every bit deserving of the twelve Oscar nominations that it is running for. Funny, heartwarming, and ultimately uplifting, I would not be surprised if this wins Best Picture.

    GRADE: A (9/10)

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