This story is a close-up view of King George VI of England as he struggled with a life-long stammer even as he was destined to replace his brother, King Edward VIII, on the English throne.
King Edward VIII, known as David to his family (and played by Guy Pearce) was disinclined to be King as he was in love with a two-time divorcee, Wallis Simpson, whom he wished to marry. His abdication meant that his brother Albert, known to all as Bertie (portrayed by Colin Firth) would ascend the throne of England.
Bertie had tried every possible method to cure his stammer, but with the encouragement of his wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) reluctantly became a client of an Australian speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) who used highly unorthodox methods for eliminating speech disorders and impediments. Physical exercise, rolling on the floor, humor, reciting of nursery rhymes and swearing all came into play in Logue’s treatments. Lionel from the beginning called his patient Bertie who was then the Duke of York.
Geoffrey Rush did a magnificent job as the coach and teacher of the man who lived in the shadow of his older brother David throughout his life. Geoffrey Rush has been nominated for the Golden Globe as best supporting actor and will no doubt be nominated for an Academy Award as well. He was perfectly cast for his role; no other actor could have played the part as well. Both Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter were also nominated for a Golden Globe for their roles in The King’s Speech.
The majority of the film concentrated on the relationship between Bertie and Lionel which at times was stormy but for the most part was pleasant as they grew to become close friends with the gradual improvement of the royal’s speech affliction. The credits at the end of the movie mentioned that King George VI, in recognition of his friendship and gratitude to Lionel Logue, inducted him into the Royal Victorian Order and later elevated him to Commander of the Victorian Order. They remained friends throughout their entire lifetime.
It was a nice point of interest for me, having grown up watching Princess Elizabeth of England and her sister Princess Margaret grow into womanhood, to have them portrayed so beautifully in the movie. Several historical and personal details of the family were woven into the story in a pleasant way.
I must say that The King’s Speech is probably my favorite movie of the last five years.
Film – The King’s Speech (2010)