A review - by Shlomoh Sherman

Director: Tom Hooper
Writer: David Seidler (screenplay)
Stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter
Genres: Drama - History
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA) - Rated R for some language.
Parents Guide:View content advisory » Edit
Country: UK, Australia
Release Date:10 December 2010 (USA)  
Also Known As El Discurso Del Rey
Filming Locations: Battersea Power Station, Battersea, London, England, UK
Production Co: See Saw Films, See-Saw Films, Bedlam Productions
Runtime: 118 min
Plot: The story of King George VI of Britain, his impromptu ascension to the throne
and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.

"Lionel and Bertie" by Alexandre Desplat
"Piano Concerto No. 5: Second Movement"  by Ludwig van Beethoven
"Symphony no. 7 in A Minor: Second Movement" by Ludwig van Beethoven,
heard as George VI delivers his first wartime speech

About a week ago, the young woman who sells tickets at the movie theater told us that the King's Speech would not be playing there. But the good folks of Mansfield must have wanted it because we saw it there.

I am so used to seeing movies which are mundane, trite, and banal. So when a film comes out that is magnificent, it almost literaly takes my breath away.

I will be surprised if anyone reading this does not already know the major plot of the movie so I will briefly relate that it is the story of Albert, younger son of King George V who ruled over one quarter of the Earth's population in the mid 1930s during which the story takes place. Albert, known to his family as Bertie, suffered from a debilitating stammer which left him feeling socially inept and awkward, and resulted in his remaining in the political background of his nation at a time when it was obvious to anyone who had honesty to see that another world war was looming over Europe.

Upon the death of George V, his son, Edward becomes the new king. But Edward's pending marriage to Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee, ultimately forced him to abdicate the throne since the king is head of the Anglican Church which does not countenance divorce.

It is then that Albert is thrust into history as the next king of England. Coached by his speech therapist, Lionel Logue, Bertie successfully delivers his first public speech, and taking the name George VI [Albert is considered too "Germanic"], goes on to lead his nation in the war against Nazism.

Behind the king's speech, we are treated to the haunting 2nd movement of Beethoven's Symphony no. 7 in A Minor, which is the music playing behind this review.

The performances of Colin Firth as King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue are absolutely wonderful. It was thrilling to watch the interplay between these two actors who superbly show the growing friendship of a simple tutor with the British monarch.

Colin Firth is well known for his roles in Mamma Mia!, The Accidental Husband, and Love Actually. Geoffrey Rush, perhaps one of the greatest actors of our day, is known to American audiences for his performances in Pirates of the Caribbean, Quills, Shakespeare in Love, and for his marvellous performance in Shine.

Helena Bonham Carter, that wonderful English actress certainly should be familiar to American audiences for her many roles in films including the Harry Potter series, Terminator Salvation, Fight Club, and Mighty Aphrodite.

I first encountered Guy Pearce as a drag queen in Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert. A friend reminds me that he was also in Memento and L.A. Confidential.

Derek Jacobi is perhaps best remembered for his portrayal of the Roman Emperor in the TV series, I Claudius.

I hardly recognized the magnificent Claire Bloom as Queen Mary. I remember this beautiful woman from many films during the 1960s. She has matured as an older actress and it was a pleasure to see her again after many years.

I cannot recommend this film enough. You will not be disappointed.

Euclid, OH
January 19, 2011

Cast overview, first billed only:
  Colin Firth  ...  King George VI  
  Helena Bonham Carter  ...  Queen Elizabeth  
  Derek Jacobi  ...  Archbishop Cosmo Lang  
  Guy Pearce  ...   King Edward VIII
  Timothy Spall  ...   Winston Churchill
  Eve Best  ...   Wallis Simpson
  Robert Portal  ...  Equerry  
  Claire Bloom  ...   Queen Mary
  Richard Dixon  ...  Private Secretary  
  Paul Trussell  ...  Driver for The House of Windsor  
  Adrian Scarborough  ...  BBC Radio Announcer  
  Andrew Havill  ...  Robert Wood  
  Charles Armstrong  ...  BBC Technician  
  Roger Hammond  ...  Dr. Blandine Bentham  
  Geoffrey Rush  ...  Lionel Logue  
  Calum Gittins  ...  Laurie Logue  
  Jennifer Ehle  ...  Myrtle Logue  
  Dominic Applewhite  ...  Valentine Logue  
  Ben Wimsett  ...  Anthony Logue  

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