See-Saw Films, Bedlam Productions

Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon, Timothy Spall, Jennifer Ehle, Derek Jacobi, Anthony Andrews, Eve Best

Britain’s King George VI (Colin Firth) struggles with an embarrassing stutter for years until he seeks help from unorthodox Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) in this biographical picture, and winner of the academy award for best picture of 2010. From his youth, Prince Albert, or Bertie as he was called by the family, stuttered very badly. He was called upon to speak from time to time and feared it greatly. Then with the death of his father, the king, and the abdication of his elder brother Edward after a year, Albert was crowned King George VI. His work with Logue made it possible for him to speak on Radio, in person, and then eventually on film and television. This is the story of the approaching war with Germany and role that King George VI had in modernizing the British Monarchy and in preparing and sustaining England through another terrible world war.

Ironically I watched this film on DVD the same day of the wedding of his great-grandson Prince William Arthur Phillip Louie, now Duke of Cambridge. It is ironic because watching the wedding and the views of Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, the same locations are shown in this movie. The same carport at the palace where Prince William and his bride exited the carriage and entered the palace are in this movie, as is the famous balcony where many monarchs have appeared, and the scenes inside Westminster Abbey are the same place where the wedding occurred yesterday. This brought the history home and certainly gave a sense of continuity to the film. I approached this film with trepidation. If you recall my comments earlier in the year about the “unlikelihood of this film deserving the “Best Picture” award, you must forgive my ignorance of speaking without any knowledge of what I was talking about. I hate people who offer opinions on films without watching them. Reviews like, “I turned this off after the first ten minutes” or “I haven’t watched it and I know I would hate it so I’m not going to” make me very angry, but then I made up my mind that I was not going to enjoy this film before even seeing it. I expected it to be a boring historical piece. The previews did not do it justice, and how could they do a decent film about an ancient king with a stutter? Actually I was very embarrassed while watching it, as I became fascinated with the history, especially with the lead up to World War II and the changing of the British Monarchy of the time. I wondered how a country has a Queen who has no power and no real clout. King George VI bemoans this same situation as the kingdom was moving into a new era. Through this I learned the value of having a strong symbolic leader through tough times who has no political relevance. They don’t take political sides, but they pull the country together in strong patriotic (not political) ways that we here in the U.S. do not have. The struggles between the right and left leave us divided and the hatred and attacks from each side on the other cannot be lessened by someone who stands for America but does not take sides politically. This is a wonderful thing.

Back to the film. Colin Firth is excellent as King George VI. On the special features is a recording of the speech Colin gives in the latter part of the movie, and you can see how, listening to King George VI, that Colin was spot on in his interpretation and the performance of the speech. Geoffrey Rush is Logue. Without much to go on (even though he was close friends with King George VI for 25 years or so) it is hard to imagine him as other than Geoffrey Rush. Even Logue’s grandson who is in a special feature on the DVD says that since his grandfather was gone before he was born, that he will always have a little Geoffrey Rush in him. Helena Bonham Carter was also wonderful as the loving and caring wife of the king. All in all the film is a wonderful historical perspective of the times leading up to the second world war and I learned a lot of history from watching it. It was excellently done, and I must eat cake and admit that it certainly was worthy (and then some) of the best picture nod this year! I stand humbled at my ignorance. 🙂

Here is some info on the life and background of King George VI.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog



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Movie Review - The King's Speech (2010) {R}, 4.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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