“The King’s Speech,” starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter, tells the story of the struggle of King George VI to overcome his severe speech impediment and thus become able to engage in public speaking.
“The King’s Speech” is a warm, stately, British-produced period piece that is at once warm and inspiring. The movie contains some first-rate acting, not only by the principles, but by many of the supporting players, including Michael Gambon and Derek Jacobi (who once, ironically, played a man with a stammer in “I, Claudius”).
Colin Firth imparts to George VI a distinct humanity, of a man burdened and no little afraid of his responsibilities, but determined to carry them out. Much of his stammer was brought about by a dysfunctional childhood that created fears within him; even in the early parts of the movie he is depicted as speaking well when he is at his ease, such as with his family, whom he clearly adores, and when he is angry, and thus forgetting to be afraid.
Geoffrey Rush is once again playing a man who is doing the British monarchy a great service, with good humor, and no little “cheek” as the Brits would say, addressing the sovereign by his first name in order to establish rapport.
One exercise in particular involves the King yelling every curse word in the book, including number seven of George Carlin’s “seven deadly words you can’t say on TV.” If there is an afterlife, somewhere in Purgatory to angry Carlin is finally smiling.
Helena Bonham Carter provides a wry common touch to the woman who would become affectionately known as “the Queen Mum” for many decades after her husband’s premature death in the 1950s.
No doubt a lot of the events described in “The King’s Speech” have been altered for dramatic effect. Lionel Logue, the speech therapist played by Geoffrey Rush, had begun treating George very soon after the disastrous Wembly speech in 1925 and had him speaking well enough by two years later. But the story of a man overcoming his limitations to give a great nation heart and courage during its finest hour, as it stood alone against Hitler, is something that someone can cheer about as much as a personal triumph on the battlefield.
“The King’s Speech” has already grabbed a bunch of nominations, including for seven Golden Globes. It is a safe bet that it will feature prominently at the Oscars.
Sources: The King’s Speech, Yahoo Movies
‘The King’s Speech’ Gets Seven Golden Globe Nominations, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, December 14th, 2010