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The King's Speech Review

By David Kempler

Speech! Speech!


When filmmakers attempt to tell a story about something that really happened, it can be a daunting task. How does one reproduce and relate an incredible occurrence in history? Well, Tom Hooper has done it in spades in "The King's Speech", based on a real-life, you wouldn't believe it if it were not true kind of deal.

The setting is England, and the time is the years leading up to World War II. King George V (Michael Gambon) is old and nearing death. And as we all know, the next king must be his oldest son. In this case, that is Edward VIII (Guy Pearce). The problem is that Edward is not exactly kingly material, or at least he's not what we envision as royalty. Regal, he ain't. He's more interested in bedding married women than in taking the helm.

Edward's younger brother, Prince Albert (Colin Firth) is an exceedingly awkward fellow, primarily because he has a serious stuttering condition. Albert's wife Princess Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) loves her husband and is constantly seeking solutions to her husband's speech problem. But she is having no luck, often running into gentlemen who claim they can help, only to be constantly disappointed. Albert has grown tired of seeking a solution and has resigned himself to being in the background of the aristocracy. He is ashamed, and has been so since early in his childhood.

The Princess, traveling incognito, locates a man, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), who assures her that he can cure her husband. He's a bit offbeat, but she is desperate. Albert reluctantly agrees to meet with Mr. Logue, and at the beginning of their interaction it is an understatement to say that their business relationship is not firing on all cylinders. It quickly falls apart.

At this point, I should stop telling you what happens, in case you do not already know this chapter of history, because I don't want to ruin it for you. What I can tell you, and feel I must tell you, is that this is one terrific film. Firth and Carter are both top-notch. However, it is Mr. Rush that steals it all. His performance is outstanding and his name had best be included with the nominees for the Best Supporting Actor.

If not for one minor quibble, I would consider this to be possibly the top film of 2010. My quibble is with the portrayal of Winston Churchill. I don't blame the actor, Timothy Spall. It's more of a case that it is probably difficult to portray Churchill, without it coming across as an impersonation one might encounter at a bad acting class. But, let's forget about this minor indiscretion. "The King's Speech" is first-class all the way, and it's well worth a trip to the theatre, so get off your duff and see it.


What did you think?

Movie title The King's Speech
Release year 2010
MPAA Rating R
Our rating
Summary Director Tom Hooper's fascinating account of a Prince and his stutter during the years leading up to WWII.
View all articles by David Kempler
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