The King’s Speech is a film from 2010 about the real life story of Prince Albert (Colin Firth) who became King George the VI of England, and his struggles with speaking. He had a stuttering problem, which is a huge issue for anyone being able to communicate with others effectively, and it may bring shame and ridicule to the victim. It was made even more difficult for this sensitive man nicknamed Bertie, and who was expected to make speeches to the kingdom. (Royalty has more than one name, which can be confusing.)
His wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) has been seeking out the help of linguists, speech therapists, and healers for many years, and they finally light upon Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), whose unorthodox, yet effective ways of dealing with the stuttering issue begin to help Albert.
This was an interesting time in British history to portray, as the years depicted led up to Britain entering into war against Nazi Germany. Also in the mix was Albert’s well-known brother David, aka King Edward the VIII (Guy Pearce), whose affair with American socialite and twice-divorced Wallis Simpson (Eve Best) led to scandal for the crown. When he abdicates the throne, Albert is thrust even more into the public eye when he becomes King George.
The film is a beautiful, often dreamy depiction of the streets and countryside of England. Set decorations and costuming were well done and no doubt congruent with the times. Academy Award winner Alexandre Desplat (who won for The Grand Budapest Hotel) wrote the score, and the selections of music throughout fit the time and situations well. Danny Cohen was nominated for Best Cinematography and although he didn’t win, the nomination was well deserved.
More than a story about the King of England, it is a story that anyone who has the affliction of stuttering can be inspired by. The psychological basis for the problem is explored, and the stormy relationship between Logue and Albert depicted very well.
My favorite part of the film is when King George gives his famous speech over the “wireless” to his kingdom, including Canada, Australia, etc. announcing war with Germany. It is the most moving piece in the film that may bring you to tears. It is beautiful to watch Logue acting as a sort of conductor to George’s reading his speech.
The King’s Speech won four Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay for David Seidler, Best Actor for Colin Firth, and Best Director for Tom Hooper. It is rated R for some language. I think the R rating shouldn’t scare you off from sharing this film with your children. The language is probably nothing they haven’t already heard, and the film’s message so important it shouldn’t be missed for that reason.
I highly recommend this film. It is engaging on many levels, for the history, for the compassion evoked in the viewer towards King George and for all people with a stuttering problem, and just because it is so well crafted.