Plot summary (from the studio): After the death of his father King George V (Michael Gambon) and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), Bertie (Colin Firth) who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually form an unbreakable bond. With the support of Logue, his family, his government and Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall), the King will overcome his stammer and deliver a radio-address that inspires his people and unites them in battle.
Based on the true story of King George VI, THE KING’S SPEECH follows the Royal Monarch’s quest to find his voice.
Warning: Spoilers below!
- Colin Firth was magnificent in this film. The Best Actor Oscar was certainly well-deserved.
- Geoffrey Rush was also very good, and I have to admit that I actually liked Helena Bonham Carter (usually my LEAST favorite actress) here. I guess she’s tolerable when she’s playing “normal” characters instead of that nutty crap her husband puts out.
- Bertie was a complex character. On the one hand, I wanted to sympathize with him because of his impediment. But on the other, he treated Lionel so badly most of the time that I sort of wanted him to fail, too. But by the time the big speech rolled around at the end, I was firmly on his side.
- I loved that the real Lionel and George VI remained lifelong friends. When people go through that kind of challenge together, I guess the experience serves to bind them forever.
- Guy Pearce was supposed to be Colin Firth’s older brother??? That didn’t even look close to being plausible in the film. Firth is seven years older than Pearce in real life, but looked at least a decade older here.
- I know this movie was about Bertie rather than David, but I wish the filmmakers had done a bit more to show why David would abdicate the throne for Wallis. In her one brief scene, she didn’t seem to be all that.
- I wanted to see more scenes of Lionel and Bertie together. Those were the ones that worked best, but there weren’t nearly enough of them.
Just from reading the synopsis, I expected The King’s Speech to be rather dull. But it was very oddly compelling — most likely due to the fine performances turned in by the three main actors. Despite the decided lack of action, I was immediately drawn into this world and Bertie’s problems and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I give this film 5 stars out of 5.