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The King's Speech

A movie directed by Tom Hooper

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The K-K-King's Speech

  • Jan 31, 2011
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"The King's Speech" is the true story of George VI (Colin Firth), who was King of the United Kingdom starting in 1936. The title refers to a radio speech which George made in 1939 to announce the British declaration of war against Germany at the start of World War II.

When the film begins, George is still named Albert (he goes by "Bertie") and he's only the Duke of York. His mean old father George V is the current king and his older brother Edward (Guy Pearce) is next in line to the throne. (I thought Bertie looked much older than Edward. No wonder; turns out Firth actually is seven years older than Pearce.)

Albert has a stuttering problem. The film opens with Bertie making a painfully bad speech to a stadium full of people, after which his wife (Helena Bonham Carter) takes it upon herself to find him a speech therapist. After first seeing a quack who has him stuffing marbles in his mouth, Bertie eventually winds up in the run-down office of Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), who insists that during their sessions, the two men must treat each other as equals.

Lionel uses some rather unorthodox treatment methods and Bertie is skeptical at first, but as desperation sets in, he starts to cooperate. Meanwhile, Bertie's brother Edward is becoming serious about his twice-divorced girlfriend Wallis (Wallis??), which throws the other royals into a bit of a tizzy because apparently marrying divorcees is a big no-no in the royal family. This ups the pressure on Bertie to learn to speak mellifluously because if big bro doesn't come to his senses before their father dies, Bertie fears he'll end up leapfrogging over him to become king.

"The King's Speech" is as much about the friendship that develops between Lionel and Bertie as it is about Bertie's stuttering problem. There's also a smattering of pre-WWII history with Hitler on the newsreels and actors playing Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain. And, of course, there's the whole period-piece atmosphere you'd expect in a movie about the Royals of this era: fancy costumes, yapping Corgis, formal parties, manicured lawns, and the like.

One thing I found striking in comparing the period depicted in the film with modern times is the relative anonymity of the royals' lives back then, before TV and the internet. While he's the Duke of York, Bertie and his wife are able to travel all around town seemingly unrecognized. Compare that to Prince William and Kate Whats-her-name, whose pictures are regularly splashed all over the tabloids and celebrity gossip magazines. Even the Amish must know what they look like, assuming they end up waiting in line at the supermarket once in a while.

When the movie ended, I overheard the woman behind me tell her friend that "this was the best movie I've ever seen in my life...ever!" I agree that it's well-made, well-acted, interesting, enjoyable, inspirational, and suitable for people of all ages (despite its ridiculous R rating for a few therapeutic swear words). It's filmmaking at its finest. And yet...

And yet, it really didn't do much for me. If you developed software to analyze the components of all past Oscar winners to determine the formula for the Best Picture, this movie would be the result. The story, the acting, the costumes, are perfect. It's the ideal movie for those people who only see one movie a year and want to feel like they got their money's worth. The thing is, I'm not one of those people.

There are few subjects which interest me less than the British royal family, nor am I a big fan of costume dramas. I can relate more to films about the everyman - maybe a stuttering butcher in a blood-stained apron struggling to ask his customers how thinly they'd like their cold cuts sliced. It's not that I wasn't rooting for Bertie - I was, despite being all but guaranteed of a happy ending - it's that I was always aware that he was just a character in a high-quality historical docudrama.

If you haven't yet seen this movie, I'd definitely recommend it. Invite your parents and your grandparents - it's a perfect senior citizen film. I'm giving it an 8 because it deserves an 8. But deep in my heart, it only feels like a 7.

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January 31, 2011
I haven't seen this film yet and actually had no idea Helena Bodham Carter was in it- I bet it'd be interesting to see her in a dramatic role instead of the quirky ones she usually inhabits. Maybe I'll give it a go or maybe I'll wait for it on Netflix, it seems like one of those that you don't need to see in theaters. Thanks for sharing :)
January 31, 2011
Everything's better in the theater! Thanks for the comment.
February 01, 2011
This is true, except when I only have one movie in the budget a month (yikes!) and have to be selective. Thanks for the post!
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 . May 02, 2011
"I've been terribly busy."   "Doing what?"   "Kinging."      The King's Speech, a man at battle with himself a very unlikable man at that. Perhaps sympathy for one of the luckiest men to walk our mortal Earth is at times absent, yet The King's Speech manages to humanise one of closest things to a living God. Yes, you either love, or hate the reigning powers of the British Royals, but how satisfying it is to see one …
review by . January 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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 …
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About this movie


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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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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Best Picture Nominees 2011


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