in Review

Speaka De Kinglish

The King’s Speech

It could have been easy to write The King’s Speech off as Oscar bait. A British monarchy movie and a World War II movie? Come on, give someone else a chance. But, whether you want to like it or not, The King’s Speech is a damn fine film that will warm its way into your heart until you’re smiling like the chief idiot at ye olde idiot factory.

King George VI (Colin Firth) has a problem. Well, he’s not king yet, but we’ll get there. He’s a good man, smart and respectful, but he has a terrible stammer. Early on we are shown his attempts to speak to a large audience, and it is brutal. Fortunately for His Highness, he’s got a loving wife (Helena Bonham Carter) who will do whatever it takes to find her husband some counsel. Eventually she finds Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian speech therapist who is confident he can cure the King. While his techniques are unorthodox the duo form an unlikely friendship during the years leading up to King George VI receiving the crown and a German tyrant rises to power (Hitler).

I know it doesn’t sound that inspired and there are a few cliche moments, but The King’s Speech is propelled by some great performances. Firth’s stammer is brutal, yet he always carries an air of elegance and respectability. Rush does no such thing, but he’s a lot of fun and the interaction between the two, which makes up the majority of the film, is a lot of fun to watch. Helena Bonham Carter, who I’ve become accustomed to playing dark, evil characters, is here full of support and love for her husband. The rest of the supporting cast is top-notch and fully British.

The King’s Speech is probably a little too long, and there are some plot points that aren’t handled well (The Prime Minister and Parliament are underdeveloped, the subplot about Logue’s acting career is dropped) but taken as a story of friendship and perseverance it’s quite good. Now I just wish they wouldn’t give the R rating for a silly scene of swearing.

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