Colin Firth delivers an Oscar worthy performance in “The King’s Speech” (Rated R). Based on a true story “The King’s Speech” chronicles King George VI’s public battle with stuttering. At first glance one would not think a speech impediment would be an appropriate movie topic, however, I found the film to be entertaining and informative.
Our first glimpse of Prince Albert, Duke of York, the second son of King George V, (Colin Firth) comes in 1925 as he is giving a speech in Wembley Stadium at the close of the British Empire Exhibition. Accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), it is clear Prince Albert’s stuttering not only makes him uncomfortable, but the crowd as well. After many unsuccessful attempts at treatment Prince Albert finally gives up, determined to live a full life despite his impediment. But, his wife convinces him to try just one more therapist.
Geoffrey Rush performs beautifully as the unconventional speech therapist Lionel Logue. Breaking all Royal etiquette rules, Lionel convinces Prince Albert that he can help him no matter how off beat his methods may seem. Through the therapy process, Lionel and Prince Albert become friends, an almost unheard of connection between Royalty and commoners. Years pass and Lionel digs deep into Prince Albert’s emotional past attempting to find the root cause of the stutter believing that attacking the root was necessary to treat the symptoms.
When George V dies in 1936, the Prince of Wales (Guy Pearce) becomes King Edward VIII. However, King Edward is torn by his duty to his country and his love of Wallis Simpson, an American socialite (Eve Best), who has not only been divorced once but is still married to her second husband. When Prince Albert points out to his older brother King Edward that he cannot marry a divorced woman and retain the thrown, King Edward abdicates in order to marry and Prince Albert succeeds him as King George VI. The emotional scene of King George’s first speech as King in 1939 when England makes a declaration of war on Germany, thus entering World War II, makes the whole film worthwhile.
Expecting to receive a creative history lesson, I was blown away by the performances of the entire cast of “The King’s Speech”. I highly recommend this movie and, if you are able, suggest seeing it on the big screen before renting it. The accents can, at times, be slightly difficult to understand, but it was fun to feel Lionel’s larger than life personality resonating from the monstrous screen. The R rating comes from a few profanity laced scenes during Prince Albert’s speech therapy lessons, but the cardinal rule for this film is context, context, context. Aside from these few brief profane scenes the film is clean and free of all sexual content and references. I give “The King’s Speech” five out of five stars…Stephanie Spurgetis