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The King's Speech movie poster

The King's Speech: Movie Review

Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Directed by: Tom Hooper

Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce
Released by: The Weinstein Company

In Short: Colin Firth puts on an Oscar-worthy performance as King George VI in this film about an unexpected monarch who must lead his nation through war even as he struggles to overcome his own speech impediment.

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STAMMERING TO VICTORY

The Triumph of the Reluctant King

"The King's Speech" is a brilliant movie. Proving once again that real-life stories will almost always trump fiction, Tom Hooper's film follows the unexpected life journey of Britain's King George VI, the man who was king as World War II began and raged on. He was also Queen Elizabeth's father, and more importantly at the time, the second son of King George V, with no expectation of ascending to the throne.

Growing up, Prince Albert (or "Bertie" as he was always called by his family) never wanted to be king. A Navy man whose terrible stutter made him hide from the public eye, all he wanted was to live quietly with his wife and daughters. But duty did occasionally call on the prince to speak in front of an audience, which is what led Bertie and wife Elizabeth to seek the help of Harley Street doctor Lionel Logue. This wonderful movie follows that relationship, as those two radically different men find their way to friendship — and a cure for the prince's speech impediment.

Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter in The King's Speech Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech

This is not your typical stuffy period piece. Instead, it is a lively, well-paced and exciting tale that features three of the best acting performances of the year. Colin Firth is astonishing as Bertie, who can only speak without stammering when he is angry and swearing like a stevedore (thus the ridiculous R rating that the film has been saddled with). He's already racking up accolades, with nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics, the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors' Guild, and he is certainly a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination and perhaps even a win. Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue is equally impressive; he, too, is racking up the same prestigious nominations, as is Helena Bonham Carter for her terrific take on Elizabeth. Look for Oscar nods for both of them as well, along with recognition for Hooper and the film itself.

"The King's Speech" would be a good movie if it simply told the story of a man overcoming such a debilitating handicap; however, the film becomes a real thriller when King Edward VII abdicates the throne, leaving younger brother Bertie as reluctant monarch. Now coronated as George VI, Bertie must lead his nation in a fight for their lives as the Nazis begin their attempt to take over all of Europe, including Britain. And that means making radio speeches to the nation without a stammer. Can he do it? Buy a ticket for this fantastic film and find out.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

 



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(Updated: 01/07/11 NW)

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