The film, The Kings Speech, is a really, really good story marked by brilliant tour de force performances that elevate the simple and mostly familiar story into the realm of a great movie. It’s not a masterpiece of film-making, but it is a true milestone in performance.
If you don’t know yet, The Kings Speech tells the story of Albert, the youngest son of King George V, who ascended to the throne when his older brother, David, decided he couldn’t continue as King (Edward VII) without the “woman he loved”, Wallis Simpson. He stepped down (to become the Duke of Windsor) and his younger brother became king. This is all fairly familiar stuff, but what people probably don’t know is that Albert had a severe problem with stuttering. Radio had just come on the scene, and monarchs were expected to address their people pretty regularly. This film shows how the king-to-be, played by Colin Firth, forms a relationship with an unorthodox speech teacher played by Geoffrey Rush.
The cast of The Kings Speech is like a who’s who of English acting. (In fact, you have to spend a couple moments getting over the Harry Potter characters these actors play). They are splendid across the board. Helena Bonham Carter who can be over-the-top in some performances is just right as the plucky, humorous, brave woman who we have come to know as the Queen Mum. Derek Jacobi is delightfully unlikable as the Archbishop Lang, Timothy Spall takes you aback as Winston Churchill but then wins you over. Geoffrey Rush commands as the incredibly cheeky teacher who became a lifelong friend of the King. Really, all the performances are smashing, right down to the little girls who play the princesses that grow up to be Queen Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret.
But the film belongs to Colin Firth. Truly one of the greatest actors of this or any generation, Firth not only masters the stuttering, halting voice of the King, he wrings every drop of understanding and sympathy from his audience for this man who simply wants to be a naval officer, but is thrust into the center of history. He is brilliant in the role and deserves the Academy Award for which i think he will be nominated.
The Kings Speech is such a good story i hope it will appeal to younger people who are unfamiliar with the historical events. It makes you laugh, cry and stand up and cheer. The film is rated R because of the very unusual methods the teacher used that included a lot of profanity. People rarely stutter when they swear. It’s a shame the movie has to have this rating, because teenagers could benefit from knowing this story. C’est la vie. Adults, run don’t walk to see The Kings Speech.