The King's Speech (2010)
September 21, 2014 1:36 PM - Subscribe

The story of King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.

A more detailed summary from Wikipedia:
The King's Speech is a 2010 British historical drama film directed by Tom Hooper and written by David Seidler. Colin Firth plays King George VI who, to cope with a stammer, sees Lionel Logue, an Australian speech and language therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. The men become friends as they work together, and after his brother abdicates the throne, the new King relies on Logue to help him make his first wartime radio broadcast on Britain's declaration of war on Germany in 1939.
Roger Ebert's film review in 2010:
Director Tom Hooper makes an interesting decision with his sets and visuals. The movie is largely shot in interiors, and most of those spaces are long and narrow. That's unusual in historical dramas, which emphasize sweep and majesty and so on. Here we have long corridors, a deep and narrow master control room for the BBC, rooms that seem peculiarly oblong. I suspect he may be evoking the narrow, constricting walls of Albert's throat as he struggles to get words out.

The film largely involves the actors Colin Firth, formal and decent, and Geoffrey Rush, large and expansive, in psychological struggle. Helena Bonham Carter, who can be merciless (as in the "Harry Potter" films), is here filled with mercy, tact and love for her husband; this is the woman who became the much-loved Queen Mother of our lifetimes, dying in 2002 at 101. As the men have a struggle of wills, she tries to smooth things (and raise her girls Elizabeth and Margaret). And in the wider sphere, Hitler takes power, war comes closer, Mrs. Simpson wreaks havoc, and the dreaded day approaches when Bertie, as George VI, will have to speak to the world and declare war.
Read full review here.

Trailer (YouTube).

Trivia page at imdb.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The scene first speech Bertie gives at the beginning of the film has an inflatable crowd. (previously)
posted by rmd1023 at 3:23 PM on September 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I saw this movie in the theater with my parents and grandparents; I figured it was going to be boring (my parents love a lot of really dry British stuff), and I loved it! My grandfather is a Brit, and he cried, he loved it so.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:47 PM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm not really sure what to add except I enjoyed this movie a lot and felt everyone (but especially Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush) put in superb performances. The locations are atmospheric (and gorgeous) and it's well written. It seems to have high production values, or at least it felt like it was put together like a well-oiled machine.

I added it to FanFare because I think it's a unique angle on the recent monarchs (focusing on King George's speech impediment that was hushed up) and deals with it sensitively. I'd love to hear others' opinions.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:49 PM on September 22, 2014

I think this is a good film, but ultimately not a remarkable one. It has good performances, and a good story. That said, the structure is terribly formulaic, and as with all historical dramas needs to play about with history a little. I also think the film repeats itself a little (therapist is outrageous, Bertie is annoyed... but it works! They reconcile and get back to work. This happens more than once), in particular I thought the "You have a voice" scene was a little on the nose.

I do really like how well the direction captures just how awful it is when Bertie's speaking isn't working. The looks of hope on the people who love him, the terror in his eyes as he is doing his best, but just can't do it.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:11 AM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed it, but Cannon Fodder has it -- this is very much rote Merchant and Ivory fare, and quite a bit too far royalist for my taste. Kings! Deep down (or at least when constitutionally neutered) they're just these lovable chaps! And while one does learn a bit about the abdication crisis and the prewar/winds of war setting, the story is ultimately really focused on this one thing in a way that comes perilously close to trivializing the times in which it's set.
posted by dhartung at 11:40 PM on September 23, 2014

Also too royalist for me. The film starts in 1925 and he is rubbish at his job. Eleven years later he is still rubbish at his job but getting along nicely anyway and even getting a promotion.
posted by biffa at 1:37 AM on September 24, 2014

this is very much rote Merchant and Ivory fare, and quite a bit too far royalist for my taste.

IN A WORLD . . .

Where royalty is a political atavism . . .

One royal . . .

With the help of his faithful colonial companion . . .

Against all odds . . .

At least tries to make himself useful.


posted by Herodios at 9:22 AM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

There should bad a category of films: with Geoffery Rush, without Geoffery Rush. I will pretty much always watch the former.

This is also true of Cate Blanchett and anything directed by Mike Leigh. And every other Cohen brother's movie.

Great actors, good movie.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:00 PM on January 13, 2016

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