I’ve been trying to think what to say about The King’s Speech, because all that really comes to mind is “it’s a wonderful film, you must see it.” Of course there is more that could be said of it than that, but that’s always the first thing that comes to mind.
The King’s Speech is the story of King George VI, or Bertie the stammering Duke of York as he was then, and his struggle to over come his stammer which becomes of great importance when his brother King Edward VIII is forced to abdicate the throne. It begins with Bertie at Wembley to make a speech in his father’s absence, obviously nervous and unsure of himself he walks up to the microphone and begins the speech, only to hear every sound he uttered echoing back at him over and over from the loud speakers, the look on his face of shame makes it feel like some mockery of his speech impediment every time he opens his mouth. Next we see that he’s trying to over come the problem with speech therapy, which seems to be nonsense but an effort is made before Bertie shortly loses his tempter begins shouting and storms out. It seems from very early on he has no trouble when he loses is temper, but he’s adamant that this is his last attempt. While his wife, Elizabeth decides to give it another try with a rather unorthodox speech therapist she’s found on Harley street.
The therapist Lionel Logue is an Australian who stands on equal footing with Bertie and believes for there to be any improvement they have to be equals, and this is where the layers of protection and distancing become so apparent, from the need to be called Your Majesty or Sir all the time to the impropriety of being asked simple questions on personal matters, Bertie is not an easy person to treat and insists on only mechanical help.
From there the film is the story of the relationship that builds around Logue and Bertie as they go through therapy. Until George V dies and the looming constitutional nightmare of Edward and Wallace Simpson becomes a major problem, and as Bertie begins to open up more he and Logue become friends.
All the major parts are played brilliantly. Colin Firth is fantastic as is Helena Bonham-Carter. Timothy Spall puts in an excellent turn as Churchill, not to mention Geoffrey Rush and Derek Jacobi who are brilliant as always. The film is surprisingly funny and there are touching scenes at both ends of the spectrum, from Bertie telling the young princesses a bedtime story to the painfully sad story he tells Logue of his childhood, and his crying in frustration when he is forced to become king.
All in all it’s a very well done film, entertainingly funny and touching. There’s very little I could say was wrong with it, in fact other than a little artistic license that has been taken here or there which only history buffs would find fault with, I would assume, I can’t think of anything to fault it.