The King's Speech

Dir: Tom Hooper

Australia

2010

118

15

On paper, The King’s Speech might seem a rather predictable costume drama, with checkboxes for a classy cast and dependable production values well ticked.

But it’s actually a very witty and inspiring watch, with an interesting focus (similarly to Stephen Frears’ The Queen) on one of the monarchy’s more difficult hours – and has just received eight nominations for the British Independent Film Awards.

Colin Firth is excellent as George VI or “Bertie”, the shy and stammering brother of confident, glamorous Edward, who is thrust uncomfortably into the spotlight after Edward’s abdication (following his scandalous engagement to divorcee Wallis Simpson).

Becoming King was quite literally George’s worst nightmare – a lifetime of public, nationally broadcast speeches loomed, and The King’s Speech follows his engagement of Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) as he battles to overcome his crippling stammer in preparation for the worst of these engagements – his coronation address. Firth (still riding on a wave of glory from his Oscar-nominated turn in A Single Man) is wonderful as Bertie, with Helena Bonham-Carter providing dependably excellent (as well as visually convincing) support as his loyal wife Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

Slyly unconventional, The King’s Speech digs deep into a very difficult time for the monarchy, struggling to regroup after Edward’s unexpected step down.

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