The King’s speech is a heartwarming, inspirational and humorous tale that weaves between elements of serious drama and comedy with ease, thanks in large to excellent performances from the entire cast, with Colin Firth standing out as the stammering King George VI in one of his finest starring roles to date. Geoffrey rush is ever watchable as Lionel Logue, the speech therapist that comes to George’s aid in anticipation of his potential to take the throne, and their often troubled relationship provides much of the humour as George’s stubborn nature prevents pronunciation progress ( now I would like to see King George get his chops around that phrase), despite Logue’s best efforts to conquer his stammer.
Alongside the King and his speech therapist, Guy Pearce and Helena Bonham Carter are riveting to watch as his self-righteous younger brother and dedicated wife and although Timothy Spall has a limited amount of screen time, his humorous portrayal of Winston Churchill is an important presence, with his stoic nature and determination providing the King with some much needed confidence.
As the king’s speech is a character driven plot, it is imperative that we can empathise with the cast and Hooper has done an exceptional job at lightening the tone in key moments throughout the film – to ensure that we warm towards the king and his entourage – whilst still maintaining the importance of the fascinating historical events that unfold as the plot progresses. It is an impressive feat to bring so much drama and tension to a single moment in history and the build-up to the film’s climax is perfectly paced as our faith in the king’s ability to perform his speech begins to waiver, and at times it is easy to forget that this is a historical drama as the wit and audacity of certain characters appears very current without feeling out of place in 1930s Britain.
Basing the premise of an entire film on a speech impediment was a brave move from director Tom Hooper and one that has paid off fantastically with the film receiving a total of seven Golden Globe Nominations as well as being a hot contender for a number of Oscars. Awards discussions aside, The King’s Speech is a wonderful film that completely surprised me with its enormously enjoyable storyline and engaging insight into the impact that speech impediments can have on their hosts.
This is arguably British film making at its finest with top-notch performances from a fantastic ensemble cast, brilliant direction from Tom Hooper, and a storyline that inspires and amuses in equal measures all adding up to make the King’s Speech an unmissable film.
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