[Review] The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech (2010)

Dir: Tom Hooper
Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush,
Helena Bonham Carter

What a triumph.

Now then, this is my blog – so my rules – and I am completely, 100% backing The King’s Speech.

When I went to watch it at the cinema last night I wasn’t sure what to expect. Firstly, because its been doing so well at the awards recently, I thought it might not be as good as I was expecting. Secondly, I’ve never seen a film directed by Tom Hooper so wasn’t sure what direction he’d take it. Thirdly, as it’s a historical piece, I was wondering whether it’d be a little… erm… stuffy.

It’s safe to say that my expectations were surpassed: its recent awards are highly deserved, Tom Hooper has done a brilliant job and it is anything but stuffy.

I had tried to avoid reading reviews of The King’s Speech as I knew I wanted to see it and make my own decision myself. I knew the basic plot: King George VI had a speech impediment and Australian Lionel Logue was his speech therapist.

However, I didn’t know – and I am a little ashamed to admit this being a British citizen who likes her history – that George VI (born Albert Frederick Arthur George and known to his family as Bertie) was the brother of Edward VIII whose companion was Wallis Simpson. I also didn’t know that George VI was the voice of the nation during WWII.

A little knowledge of the above would have been useful but it wasn’t essential.

The acting is superb and Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush have excellent chemistry.

What I wasn’t expecting was how funny it is in parts. This humour is down to the touching relationship between the two characters – Bertie and Lionel. Lionel’s techniques involve tongue twisters and, when he discovers Bertie doesn’t stammer when he’s doing it, a lot of shouting and, ahem, swearing.

Now this is where I must quote Empire as they have described it perfectly: “Friendship is a voyage into the unknown for Bertie. Logue is gluing him together.” This is a story about much more than a stammer; it’s about friendship, social standing, childhood and the burden of what people expect.

In essence, The King’s Speech is tender, uplifting and perfectly written.

The King’s Speech‘s successes so far:

  • NOMINATED 12 Oscars – WON Best Director, Best Motion Picture, Best Actor, Best Writing – Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
  • NOMINATED 11 BAFTAs – WON Best Actor, Best Film, Best Screenplay (Original), Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress plus Alexander Korda Award for Outstanding British Film of the Year and Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music
  • NOMINATED Seven Golden Globes – WON Best Actor
  • NOMINATED Four Screen Actors Guild awards – WON Best Actor, Outstanding Performance by a Cast
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