Anthony's Film Review

The King's Speech (2010)

A simple yet memorable story about beating the odds...

Who knew that a member of England's royal family could have a speech impediment? It's perhaps the last thing you'd consider when you see a king, queen, or other high-standing royal figure in public. Yet, King George VI in the 1930s was a man whom many people considered to be unfit as a ruler. At the same time, as told in the 2010 film The King's Speech, it was a role that was seemingly better suited for him than for David, his irresponsible brother and the Prince of Wales. Even though George VI had a problematic stutter, he felt very concerned about David's disregard for the country and naturally took his brother's place.

These situations do make a good story for a motion picture as well as an opportunity for veteran actors to shine. Speaking of the latter, let's begin with Colin Firth. He is skilled in his performance as Albert, the Duke of York, who would rise to the throne as King George VII. When this character speaks, the sudden pauses and struggles to vocalize past them are so dramatic that it's easy to understand his frustration. But it's not just Albert's mouth where you want to focus. You also want to look at his eyes, because that's where the sadness from the stammering is apparent.

Balancing this performance is the equally matched Geoffrey Rush as speech therapist Lionel Logue. This is a man who can be called a true friend. For one thing, he insists that he and Albert refer to each other by first name, despite the prestige of their professions. Lionel shows little sign of being arrogant or condescending, maintaining a slight gentle smile at almost every moment. Seeing Lionel and Albert together, whether in a speech therapy session or in any other context, is just a wonderful experience. Of course, let's not forget the rest of the supporting cast, including Helena Bonham Carter as Albert's wife Elizabeth (a future queen, obviously), Guy Pearce as David the Prince of Wales, Michael Gambon as the ailing King George V, and Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill, as they are just as important.

So is this movie inspiring? Yes. Is it something we all can relate to? No doubt about it. But is it epic? Well, I have to be honest. If you're looking for a lengthy story where the central character undergoes a gradual but major transformation with a few unexpected surprises along the way, you might not find it with The King's Speech. I would characterize this film more as an averaged sized, straightforward story. It would probably be no different if the movie were about an ordinary person overcoming fear to do a smaller-scale public speaking event. In fact, I was quite surprised that the movie was over right after the scene with George VI's wartime speech to the nation.

Nevertheless, The King's Speech is certainly worth seeing for its performances and theme of inspiration. While I may not be as enthusiastic as others who praise the film much more highly, I can certainly understand their opinion. After all, the movie is essentially free of flaws, glaring mistakes, and other things that would turn off most of the audience. It simply doesn't meet my own standard for an undeniably unforgettable movie. With that, I'm giving it a positive rating. Not my highest positive rating, but certainly one that is above average.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about The King's Speech, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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