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The King's Speech

A movie directed by Tom Hooper

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Find Your Voice

  • Jan 31, 2011
Rating:
+5
There is a pivotal moment in the King's Speech that just speaks volumes about what the movie is about and what it means.  It's a scene where Bertie (also known as a King George VI)I--a man with a stammering problem--is standing there with Lionel, his speech therapist, and Lionel puts a headset on him and plays music and instructs Bertie to read a passage out of Hamlet.  While the music is playing you can't hear him, he can't even hear himself.  Lionel records it for him.  When Bertie is done reciting he throws the headphones down and dismisses Lionel's methods as pure rubbish, but he takes the record home with him anyway.  When he later plays it, we find that Bertie recited the entire passage without stammering at all and did it with feeling and passion.  It's one of the highlights of the film.  One that makes it really stand out.  It's an uplifting movie but one that doesn't play too heavy on the sentiment but rather more so on the emotions of the audience.  When watching The King's Speech it's easy to feel proud and uplifted. 

The story is as simple as it comes.  Bertie (Colin Firth) is a man with a speech problem.  He cannot speak without stumbling over his words.  As a child his brothers mocked him for it and his father dismissed it as nothing more than a simple fear.  The movie opens with him unable to give a big speech because of his little problem.  The eyes stay on him and lock... and then they slowly drop away from him.  The audience is shamed to hear him speak. 

Things don't get any better when his father passes away and they get even worse when his brother doesn't accept the responsibility of being King.  And even worse?  War with Germany is on the horizon.  England needs a leader.  A man who will stand up and lift spirits just as war is about to break out.  But how can Bertie--that is, King George VI--do this with such a problem?  It turns out he has the help of Lionel.  A man who has helped many people find their voice.  And along with Lionel's help, King George VI is able to deliver a brilliant speech in a nation's ailing moment.

The King's Speech may be a film that starts off relatively slow, but it grows on you as it presses on.  It's a drama, sure, but there are large snippets of comedy thrown in, thanks to some excellent writing and the performances from Colin Firth (your humble King) and Geoffrey Rush (Lionel).  It's what really brings the movie to life.  They're charming on screen together.  There are moments when the movie plays a little too heavily on the dramatic nature--getting a little too overdramatic as the tempo of the music increases--but there isn't much wrong with that.  At least the music is good music. 

We're mostly immersed in the film because it's funny, but doesn't overhand us the comedy... but it also doesn't overhand us the dramatics either.  It's a serious movie that seems to know how to balance the two. 

There is, of course, nothing here that you won't actually find yourself surprised at seeing.  The King's Speech sticks to much of the tried and true film making tactics in its script.  All the right ingredients are there.  A stubborn man with a problem who needs help.  A man willing to reach out and give it to him.  The typical moment where the stubborn man wants to get rid of him and the typical moment when he comes back... and that final moment where a man conquers his fears and crushes all doubt in anyone's mind.  You should know the ending before the previews in your theater start playing.  Yet as the movie goes on you're still engrossed because... admit it, you want to hear his speech just as the cast in the film does!  Because Colin Firth does such a good job stammering.  The anticipation isn't the ending, it's hearing that speech and watching the preparation for said speech.  It's actually engrossing.

Questionably, the film was given an "R" Rating, however.  When I first saw this I was perplexed.  How could a movie like "The King's Speech," receive an "R" rating.  There's no violence or nudity.  There are, however, two pivotal scenes that do involve quite a bit of swearing.  Including a scene where King George VI screams the "F" word several times.  If there was ever a movie the MPAA did harm to by upping the rating based on swearing, this is it.  It isn't even as though the swearing has any sort of context nor is it like a thirteen year old would not have heard any of this language (let alone read it on the internet) before.  So shame on the MPAA for effectively alienating an audience. 

Nevertheless, make no mistake... the King's Speech is a great film.  A film where one man finds his courage and conquers all the odds.  It is definitely worth going to go see.  The story is carried on by good characters played by good actors and sheds some light humor in heavy spots while also keeping an even tone.  There's a lot here about friendship as well, but you'd more or less expect that from a movie like The King's Speech. 

So The King's Speech is a fun movie but also a serious one.  A feat a lot of movies can't pull off.  It's a relatively good story as well that's definitely worth the time to go see.  When it's all said and done you won't be speechless, but you might find yourself holding your breath for a brief moment after. 

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February 01, 2011
Great review and I pretty much second what Will said below. I loved just about everything in this film from the cast to the story to the music to the direction and set decoration. My only small complaint was in regards to Timothy Spall as Churchill since he neither looked, acted, nor sounded like him. Other than that, the whole film was stellar.
 
January 31, 2011
Yes, exactly how I felt about the film and great comment on the R rating. There was some profanity but nothing any kid had already heard before. This film had the perfect balance of drama, humor and was definitely inspiring. Great review!
 
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More The King's Speech reviews
review by . January 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
4 ½ Stars: Everyone Has The Right To Be Heard!
Stories about friendship and courage. They are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser whose stories have been told in various different ways. It is just something that people need to be told from time to time that I doubt anyone would grow tired of it. Well, director Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech” won the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival People’s choice award and it tells about the true story of a King George VI who overcame something very significant in the face of a …
review by . April 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I was not familar with the story of George VI until I saw this amazing film. Apparently George had a terrible stuttering problem until one day his wife took him to the home of a commoner in the basement floors of a building. At first George is reluctant to give the man a chance. His father and just about everyone else had sent him to "experts' with no success. One such "expert" wanted him to smoke to "sooth the lungs" and talk with marbles in his mouth. None of these things worked.    George …
review by . January 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A King's birthright
It was a little slow at the beginning but the movie picks up lots of momentum towards the end. The true story of a royalty's speech impediment. Had he been just another prince, then it's no big deal. But the moment that his brother abdicated the throne and he was made king, it's a major problem!      What made this movie success is not so much the story nor is it the overcoming of a handicap. True, they are part of what make a story. However, I believe it is the acting …
review by . January 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Don't miss this movie just because its not gotten a wide release.  Here in Raleigh, NC, it isn't playing at any of the multi-screen multiplexes, which actually gives you a great excuse to see a movie in an old-fashioned single-screen movie house like the Rialto in Raleigh (an excellent movie-going experience in itself).      And what a movie this is.  It is certain to get nominations for best movie, actor, and supporting actor.  While I think the movie …
review by . December 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The British monarchy tale "The King's Speech" led Golden Globe contenders Tuesday with seven nominations, including best drama and acting honours for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush.Other best-drama nominees were the psychosexual dance thriller "Black Swan," the boxing saga "The Fighter," the sci-fi blockbuster "Inception" and the Facebook chronicle "The Social Network." Nominees in the Globes' other best-picture category, …
review by . February 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     There are few stories without an enemy; and few films without a flaw. Yes, history has proved me somewhat wrong and there are indeed MANY great, flawless films, but seldom do they come along each weekend. So when they do come along, there is reason to celebrate. "The King's Speech" is an absolutely fantastic portrait of the Duke of York, who was King George V's son. If there is a villain in this very story, it is the flaws of the Duke/Albert. He is to become …
review by . January 01, 2011
I can enjoy fine movies with minimalist acting. Where the actors spend a lot of time saying nothing, but looking very serious, or hurt, or angry or whatever. The kind of the thing that lots of young American actors like to do these days. Where emotions are bottled up. This can be very effective.     But sometimes, you just want to have a good, old-fashioned wallow in the kind of meaty, no-holds barred acting that, frankly, the British do best. And the best, most satisfying example …
review by . January 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Speech impediments are a horrible thing to deal with, I’d imagine. And I’d imagine they are far, far worse if you’re the titular leader of 1/4 of the world. That’s the situation faced by King George VI in The King’s Speech. George VI (Colin Firth), called “Bertie” through most of the film, was never meant to be king. His brother, David, was the one who was meant to be king, but no one, including his father, seemed to feel he was up to the …
review by . December 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
“The King’s Speech” is the one of the few films I know of to humanize the embarrassment of stuttering. It tells the story of Prince Albert, Duke of York, who, following the death of his father and the resignation of his older brother, became King George VI and had the unenviable task of leading England and its many colonies into World War II; although he had a voice and had plenty to say, his debilitating stammer made it virtually impossible to actually say it. Imagine what that …
review by . January 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Well if this isn't Oscar bait I don't know what is. A movie about the British monarchs that comes out in December. The only thing that is holding it back from pure gold is that it is actually doing well in the box office, people are going to see it.      It seems that come award season a couple movies always make it across the pond and infiltrate the system. This movie follows the same formula as the ones before it. It humanizes the monarch while still telling a story …
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Wiki

The King's Speech is a British historical drama film directed by Tom Hooper from a script by David Seidler. The movie won the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award.


The film stars Colin Firth as King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as speech therapist Lionel Logue, who helped George VI overcome a stammer. Filming commenced in the United Kingdom in November 2009. The film is set for a limited release in the United States on 26 November 2010

The British monarchy tale "The King's Speech" led Golden Globe contenders Tuesday with seven nominations, including best drama and acting honours for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush.Other best-drama nominees were the psychosexual dance thriller "Black Swan," the boxing saga "The Fighter," the sci-fi blockbuster "Inception" and the Facebook chronicle "The Social Network."
Nominees in the Globes' other best-picture category, for musical or comedy, are the Lewis Carroll fantasy "Alice in Wonderland," the song-and-dance extravaganza "Burlesque," the lesbian-family tale "The Kids Are All Right," the action tale "Red" and the romantic thriller "The Tourist."
"The Social Network" and "The Fighter" tied for second with six nominations each. Among nominations for ...

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Details

Director: Tom Hooper
Genre: Drama, History
Release Date: 24 December 2010 (USA)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: David Seidler
DVD Release Date: April 19, 2011
Runtime: 118 min
Studio: The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay Entertainment
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