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The King's Speech
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After the death of his father King George V (Michael Gambon) and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), Bertie (Colin Firth) who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually form an unbreakable bond. With the support of Logue, his family, his government and Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall), the King will overcome his stammer and deliver a radio-address that inspires his people and unites them in battle. Based on the true story of King George VI, "The King's Speech" follows the Royal Monarch's quest to find his voice.
Candidates for president and prime minister choose to run, but kings rarely have a choice. Such was the case for Prince Albert, known by family members as Bertie (Colin Firth), whose stutter made public speaking difficult. Upon the death of his father, George V (Michael Gambon, making the most of a small part), the crown went to Bertie's brother, Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), who abdicated to marry divorcée Wallis Simpson. All the while, Bertie and his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter, excellent), try to find a solution to his stammer. Nothing works until they meet Australian émigré Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), a failed actor operating out of a threadbare office. He believes Bertie's problem stems from emotional rather than physiological issues, leading to a clash of wills that allows the Oscar®-winning Rush (Shine) and the Oscar-nominated Firth (A Single Man) to do some of their best work (in a neat bit of casting, Firth's Pride and Prejudice costar, Jennifer Ehle, plays Logue's wife). All their efforts, from the tense to the comic--Bertie doesn't stutter when he swears--lead to the speech King George VI must make to the British public on the eve of World War II. At a time when his country needs him the most, he can't afford to fail. As Stephen Frears did in The Queen, Tom Hooper (HBO's Elizabeth I) lends vulnerability to a royal figure, showing how isolating that life can be--and how much difference a no-nonsense friend like Logue can make. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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The part of the movie not mentioned by the reviews I read: that this is a movie about the traumatized citizenry of the UK, reluctant to go into a second world war against Hitler.
The Brits are reserved. But WW I broke their spirit, left them traumatized and shaken. It was a horrific war.
That’s the stutter of King George as metaphor.
The Brits are now realizing, reluctantly, that indeed they are going to have to go to war again - ready themselves; gird their loins.
That is what the king’s journey to wholeness represents; the country needing to strengthen and restore itself to full confidence and capability in order to face the looming reality of a war that will claim the lives of tens of millions, and lay waste to Europe.
I hadn’t heard anyone discuss the stutter as metaphor.
That the stutter works on different levels - as a personal obstacle and source of shame, as a national shame and sign of dis-ease and war weariness, and as an impossible obstacle that simply must be overcome, makes the movie wonderful.
This is one of the best films of the last 10 years. Colin Firth gives a performance worthy of his Oscar and then some as the speech impaired King George VI. His counterpart, speech therapist Lionel Logue, is brilliantly portrayed by Geoffrey Rush. The two parry and jab, struggle with class differences then bond in the task of getting King George ready for his role as a leader of the British people.
This film is a unique look into the hidden world of British Royalty. The expectations and pressure of being a public figure are thrust upon those who may desperately wish to avoid the limelight. There is no escape. Such is life for all of us. We must, at some time in our lives, face up to challenges we would rather not. How we deal with these challenges determines our personal direction in life. Oscar winning director, Tom Hooper, manages to give us a very intimate film. We can feel the characters' anguish as if that anguish was our own. Helena Bonham Carter rounds out the main cast as the determined wife of the King. I am always impressed with Carter's versatility and skill and she is in full force here with a subtle yet powerful performance as the strength behind the throne.
This film is recommended for those above 13 as there is some vulgar language. Beyond that, I would recommend 'The King's Speech' to all movie fans. It is a viewing experience you will not soon forget and will return to view it again and again. Bravo for the Oscar winning Best Picture of 2010.
Tom Hooper's historical drama The King's Speech (2010) is a fantastic perspective on the real life verbal melees that King George VI suffered with his whole life as he attempts to overcome his speech impediment stammer. Hooper's direction is a gorgeous recreation of wartime Britain from the death of King George V to King George VI. Hooper's style is sleek and fluid, quickly moving from scene to scene to keep you on edge to feel the pressure that the royals were in during the changeover of kings.
Colin Firth is marvelous as the frustrated and distressed monarch King George VI. Firth lends the king a sympathetic persona as you care if this man will rise to the challenge of leading his country into war with Adolf Hitler and Germany through his war speech announcement. The conflict may seem trivial at first, but the fate and morale of England was at stake on his majesty's oratory skills. Firth portrays King George VI as a capable man that lacked the confidence to say what he wanted. Through Firth's remarkable performance we sympathize with a man at odd's with his responsibilities and newfound status. I found Firth's acting gave King George VI a humanistic relatable air in his display of a palpable fury at his own inability to speak clearly. Colin Firth is simply moving in The King's Speech.
Similarly, Geoffrey Rush is hilarious as the king's Australian speech therapist. His patience, kindness, humor, and understanding give the audience an empathetic viewpoint into the trials of nervousness the monarchy underwent during World War II. Rush is so funny, likable, and endearing that you are with him the whole way through The King's Speech. He is a triumphant portal of sensitivity in the film, who you feel an affinity for always.
Likewise, Helena Bonham Carter is excellent as Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Her caring attitude for her husband's speech impediment is commendable. You like her fiery language and spirited remarks as well as her thoughtful support of King George VI.
On the other hand, Guy Pearce is loathsome as King Edward VIII. His cruel remarks, bullying, and ignorance towards his brother's feelings comes across as genuinely callous. Pearce knows how to play selfish and repellent when he wants. Pearce captures King Edward VIII's complete disregard for tradition, responsibility, and empathy with a distant aloof presence that is affectionate for his mistress. Pearce is truly one of the greatest actors of his generation.
Lastly, Alexandre Desplat's score is a rising symphony of influence and spirit. He rises to the challenge of recalling the past, but brings it to life with swelling strings and soft tones. The score to The King's Speech is classy and sweet all the way through. Desplat's score is particularly effective in creating a sweeping majesty during the entire final speech from King George VI. Desplat is a composer to listen out for in all his future projects.
In conclusion, The King's Speech is a gripping drama recreating the painful discomfort of King George VI engages you through all the scandal and intrigue.
I especially love the moment when the king sees Hitler on TV, and he says, "I don't know what he's saying, but he's saying it rather well." You realize that this man cannot speak clearly, and he's facing someone whose very words are empowering an empire.
I also love how much the queen supports him with everything, and that she never gives up on him.
Oh, and the friendship between Berty and Lionel was perfect. Tested and trusted.
Top international reviews
Critics were very kind and acknowledged that there are some historical indiscretions to make the film flow but it was highly praised and won four Oscars as it deserved. One being Best Film.
I loved the scene Lionel Logue's wife walks into her home to find the Queen and King sat in her kitchen, my grandmother would say when I was a child, "Keep your home nice so if the Queen turns up you are not ashamed"
I think the fact the story of how two men became friends in such an extraordinary way, merging two lives that in different circumstances would never have happened is so heartwarming. And King George became a much highly respected and admired King for his Country but what courage it took
The film The King’s Speech written by David Seidler and directed by Tom Hooper – a very insignificant personal incident per se, treats the stammer of Prince Albert or “Bertie” (Colin Firth), the care of his wife, Elizabeth Bowes Lyons (Helena Bonham Carter), a Lady by birth but still considered by traditionalists as a commoner, and their family, in contrast to the disregarding unsympathetic manner of his father, the traditionalist, disciplinarian George V (Michael Gambon), the coldness of his mother, Queen Mary of Teck (Claire Bloom), the egotistic attitude of his elder very vain and modern pin-up brother, David (Guy Pearce), heir to the throne, and the commitment of the untrained Australian speech therapist, and failed actor Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), working from the poor side of Harley Street, trying to help his patient realise where his personal weaknesses stem from before prescribing physical and psychological remedies for his rehabilitation with growing self confidence, satisfaction, and to greater normality. The feeling of insecurity increased on the death of the monarch, his successor, Edward VIII’s then involved in the unacceptable scandalous affair with the twice divorced US Wallis Simpson, wishing to make her his queen; the Abdication, and on his own accession the strong responsible sense of being seen as incapable, unworthy to carry out successfully that which was expected, becoming “George the Stammerer” following in the footsteps of another King George, “Mad King George” III The Madness Of King George [DVD], so tarnishing the image of the monarchy, and in turn of Britain, perhaps even causing his own replacement by a Regency in the hectic days leading up to the Second World War. The memory of George VI standing by Churchill in leading the country through the dark days of 1940-42 to victory, in 1945, consequently overlooks what did not arise, but what may have occurred due to the presence of Logue.
The film presents the classical lives, customs, and habits of the different social classes: the insular Royals, the deference of the worried middle classes: the Archbishop of Canterbury Cosmo Lang (Derek Jacobi), Prime Minister Baldwin (Anthony Andrews) and members of his government, and the more open, though equally respectful outsiders from distant colonies down under; how each groups treated one another; the irritated hostility and snobbery portrayed towards the “more democratic” outsider as less civil and conforming to ways of the mother country, whereas the Duke of York’s family being the most courageous and willing to try to accept change – beginning if not immediately by recognising an equal doctor-patient relationship, each operating to the other on first name principles as suggested by the friendly, but principled fair minded therapist.
Critics using their post Second World War norms have misinterpreted the Duchess’ response at the first meeting of Logue as of “shyness” or “snobbery”; it was instead her instant humane behaviour of making the “colonial” feel less embarrassed in his own clinic on learning that the “Johnsons” were none other than Royals. Bonham Carter did a excellent performance, though rather than using Emily Watson as in A Royal Night Out had she worn a black wig her resemblance would have been much similar to the future Queen Elizabeth in the mid 1920s and 30s A Royal Night Out [DVD] .
Firth mastered the future king’s tension, hesitant halting stutter to a key, and the ever presence of the microphone and red light rather than the anger of his father imploring him to “get it out”, or his elder brother’s teasing appears the primary object of fear, panic, and sweat. He is unaware that his father believes that despite starting his journey loaded with many tiresome disadvantages, Bertie is surprisingly prized, with the assistance of the warm reassurance of Elizabeth, as the strongest, and not the weakest of the family or “firm”; in contrast the boy born and trained for kingship, Edward VIII, has remained a child, and in one scene at Christmas acts as the helpless lapdog to his domineering painted goddess who flaunts her self-styled role by taking over the running of his party. Elizabeth and Bertie, entrenched in protocol and common courtesy, ignore the aura of this foreigner, are depicted as snobs, giving the worried Baldwin a hope for normality post Edward.
The bond of the relationship between Bertie and Lionel survives because both need one another, and despite regular angry explosions, and one rude emotional outburst, Bertie shows his strength as a man by apologising to his therapist, and Lionel admits of perhaps overstepping his mark even on neutral ground respect to one who still is a Royal and hopes they can continue to work normally together as they previously had during their previous friendly working relationship. Such normality and friendship did resume beyond the period of work at home during the first meeting of the two wives, and then the King. Mrs Myrtle Logue (Jennifer Ehle) promptly invites the guests to lunch, who save the unprepared Logues’ face by inventing other commitments. The film ends quickly at the outbreak of War, in September 1939, at Buckingham Palace when Bertie’s first wartime speech receives a resounding success from the invited guests, and even those, like Archbishop Lang, who had earlier indicated his fears of the abilities of the unqualified, untried Australian – it is not clear if he questions his professionalism because he has no official training or because he is a “colonial”, are in the end forced to recognise Lionel Logue’s worthy lasting achievements. Even if that had not occurred Bertie and Elizabeth never forgot the work done, and in 1944 the first time when the King allowed Lionel time off with his family at Christmas, he received his reward becoming Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.
Certain Americans who love films of happy families with one or two dogs, where the main protagonist overcomes all struggles, will welcome viewing this product at any time of the year. Anti-monarchists on the contrary will find this a waste of time, of effort, of good acting and good actors, especially as after 1945 the country was still run by the same traditional ruling classes. Besides, as Lionel would be the first to stress that if trained specialists busy themselves filling their patient’s mouths with marbles or encouraging smoking to relax the lungs, they are simply idiots, and knighting them for their deeds or misdeeds, merely confirms their idiocy, if these same idiots continue to run professions British society won’t have moved forward despite all the casualties, sufferance, and losses of a long six year war. Others, myself included, would question the order of the historical correctness of the events, with Winston Churchill (who in this film Timothy Spall looks like a bumbling drunk warthog) being pro Edward VIII during the Abdication being completely ignored, that Baldwin, Chamberlain, and Bertie himself were all appeasers until September 1939, and he distrusted Churchill long after becoming Prime Minister in May 1940 George VI: The Dutiful King.
On the other hand, this DVD has many special features which will interest both cinema buffs and amateur or professional historians, and will clear up any historical mix-ups. Firstly, it contains a second copy of the film with commentary from the Anglo-Australian director. He is particularly interested in letting contemporary Britons know how members of the British Dependencies – especially Australians were considered in the mother country. The “Toffs” were not necessary the Royals, but the middling classes. Equally, it was essential to inform modern Australians, now the majority no longer white from the home country or from Europe, but from Asia, how celebrity Australians of the past – of the Douglas Jardine, Bob Wyatt, and Donald Bradman cricket Bodyline ilk, behaved. These were quite different from Dennis Lillee, Rod Marsh, and the Chappell brothers who joined the Kerry Packer circus Howzat! Kerry Packer's War [DVD].
Secondly, it has short interviews with the cast in particular with Firth and Bonham Carter about the making of the product, and what was learnt when partaking in the play. Third, there is an interview with Lionel Logue’s grandson, Mark, co-author of the accompanying book based on Lionel’s diaries, who explained why the film took so many years to make after the deaths of both George VI, and his wife Queen Elizabeth The King's Speech: Based on the Recently Discovered Diaries of Lionel Logue. Fourth, and finally, there are two recordings: the first wartime speech in December 1939, so it is possible to compare Firth’s rendition to that of the King; the second recording is the first peacetime speech in May 1945 incorrectly used in A Royal Night Out as broadcast on VE Night, when in reality it was made for Pathé on May 14th almost a week later.
The film has a good story, generally well crafted, fairly historically acceptable, and the DVD is good value for money. For once, working together with the toffy-nose Poms, the Aussies scored a major hit: good for Australia, Britain, and all film goers.
Colin Firth and Geoffrey Bush are magnificent as the stuttering Royal and Lionel Logue, his unconventional Australian speech therapist - protocol totally ignored by the teacher, inhibitions gradually shed by the future king. Loosening up exercises, swearing and singing are all part of the treatment.
Disturbing revelations emerge of how the problems came to be - a little boy, naturally left handed, forced to use his right; legs encased in painful supports; a sadistic nanny; an overbearing father; an older brother everybody preferred. Here is an intensely personal portrayal - essentially an unassuming family man now thrust by fate into the limelight, the rest of his life to be spent outside his comfort zone.
Bonuses include a commentary, interesting contributions by many involved, recordings of two speeches by the monarch. There is an excellent interview with Logue's grandson - unearthed diaries causing much excitement, as well as major amendments to the script.
A gem of a film, illuminating and uplifting. It thoroughly deserves its praise and awards.
Director Tom Hopper is better with actors than he is with lenses, the look of the film that uninvitingly flat and lifeless look so beloved of modern period pieces that seem to believe that the past was devoid of primary colors, but since this is a performance and script-led piece that's not the handicap it could have been. The film only really misses its footing with the climactic speech because, ironically, it doesn't trust the voice and swamps the scene with music to overegg the solemnity and magnitude of the occasion. But the film is more than enough fun to forgive it.
This is one case where you're better off getting the DVD than the UK Blu-ray: the extras are the same - audio commentary by Hooper featurette, interview with Mark Logue,, two genuine speeches by King George VI, production sketches and stills gallery and trailer - but the Blu-ray offers a poor and very unsatisfying 1080/25i transfer than has the same PAL speedup as the DVD rather than being presented at the proper 24fps speed.
Well I have seen it and I have to say all the hype was rightly deserved. The film is a cinematic masterpiece and one of the finest British film offerings in years.
Excellent moving story combined with comic relief in places as well as a fantastic dynamic script and an awesome cast.
The relationship between the two main protagonist's Colin Firth as King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue is sheer chemistry from the first time they meet.
Add to the mix an excellent supporting cast is:
Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth
Guy Pearce as King Edward III
Michael Gambon as King George V
Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill
Derek Jacobi as the Archbishop of Canterbury
The film rightly deserved the international acclaim and praises which culminated in the twelve Oscar nominations for which it won four including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
I would encourage anyone to watch this film and I promise you will enjoy it. The Kings Speech is a classic in our time.
What a terrible day when we lost him, how terrible for his wife and daughters to lose a beloved husband and father.
This film opened my eyes to the enormity of the responsibilities of Royalty, made me angry and emotional, and left me convinced that
all the pomp and ceremony, although part of our tradition, is in urgent need of reform, and should take a more logical approach to individual and human needs of all in office.
The best feature of this movie for me was the simple but touching human story line and the fact that it's success depended on the skills and talent of the actors and actresses to bring their characters to life. No CGI, no stunts, no special effects, just good old fashioned artistic excellence in acting and wearing a character like second skin. I would like to say well done to all the cast, Colin the undisputed King, and the rest of the cast - Geoffrey Rush, Helen Bonham Carter, Jennifer Ehle , Guy Pearce, Claire Bloom, Michael Gambon, Anthony Andrews to mention but a few who through their supporting roles contributed immensely to the success of this movie.
The Running time of the movie is 113mins with additional 50 mins of bonus features which include commentary with Director Tom Hooper, An inspirational story of an unlikely friendship - the making of the King's Speech; An interview with Mark Logue( co-author of The King's speech: how one man saved the British Monarchy), Speeches from the Real King George V1; photo gallery including a look behind the scenes and production sketches from the academy award nominated production designer - Eve Stewart. This is one for the keeper shelf.
His wife played by Helen Bonham Carter seeks out the help of of this eccentric speech therapist as his brother King Edward VIII abdicates from the throne due his love for a catholic American divorcee and the film concentrates on this relationship between Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush.
It is wonderfully filmed and the acting is outstanding from all participants, with of course Colin Firth taking the Oscar for his performance as King George VI.
For my money the eccentric speech therapist played by Geoffrey Rush takes the outstanding plaudits, his performance for me was brilliant without taking anything away from Colin Firth's excellent portrayal as King Georg VI.
It is an outstanding film worthy of a place in your film collection.
All in all, a great film at a good price from Amazon & delivered promptly, I would highly recommend this film even if you've no interest in history or the royals, as like my husband & daughter you may just surprise yourself & really enjoy it.
While I didn't think it was a great as people say it is, it is a really good movie. Colin Firth really deserved the Oscar for Best Actor for his role as King George VI who is struggling with a speech impediment and through his wife hires speech therapist Geoffrey Rush to help him out.
written by acknowledged historians. Colin Firth is excellent as the future king and Geoffrey Rush is equaaly good as Lionel Logue. As for supporting cast Derek Jabobi does a fine job portraying the sycophantic archbishop Cosmo Lang and Helena Bonham Carter shows her talent as serious actress in portraying the future queen Elisabeth. This film is absolutely worth wathing again and again
I understand from the infamous Mrs Simpson that the guy who became king was not a stuffed shirt at all but a bit of a laugh. And we had only one tiny glimpse of that when he was with the children.
There are are no surprises!