Rated R for some language, 118 minutes
Without hesitation, "The King's Speech" is one of the year's best
"The King's Speech" sheds new light on the Royal Family, and it's an inspiring one. Based on the true story of how King George VI (the current Queen Elizabeth's father) and how he overcame a stammer to lead England with courage during World War II. It's one of the year's most poignant, enjoyably uplifting and well-acted films, and expect it to earn some well-deserved accolades this awards season.
King George V (Michael Gambon) has successfully led England for years, but he becomes aged and ill and unable to lead his country. His oldest son Edward (Guy Pearce) is expected to succeed him on the throne, but he abdicates it due to his affair with a divorced woman. His next son, George VI (Colin Firth), then takes the throne, but his stammer and shyness make him an unusual choice. With the prodding of his wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), he goes to Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian speech therapist known for his unorthodox methods, for assistance. With Logue's help, George is able to lead the country during World War II.
Vastly entertaining, superbly acted and crafted, "The King's Speech" is sublime, uplifting entertainment and one of the year's best films. The highlight of the film is Firth's amazing, touching performance as the royal who was known as Bertie and who received help from a regular man. Firth's transformation is credible, wholly believable and quite affecting; he's all but a shoo-in for this year's Best Actor Oscar, but his performance alone makes the film required viewing even for non-history buffs. Oscar-winner Rush is also quite good as Logue, who helped George overcome his stammer, and Carter, for once playing a normal human being, is poignant as the future Queen Mother.
The first-rate production ably recreates late 1930's England along with all the royal red tape that went along with being in this family. Gambon is a great, crusty old King George V, while "Harry Potter" alum Timothy Spall shines in a small but crucial part as Winston Churchill. Tom Hooper, who also successfully handled another historical figure in the miniseries "John Adams," directs David Seidler's with skill and keeps it from going the mauldin-illness-of-the-week route.
"The King's Speech" is an enjoyable, well-crafted and engaging film that comes highly recommended.