The Kings Speech
Cast includes: Colin Firth (A Single Man), Helena Bonham Carter (Howards End), Geoffrey Rush (Shine)
Screenplay: David Seidler (Tucker: The Man and His Dream), Direction: Tom Hooper (The Damned United)
Genre: Historic Based Drama 2010
In brief: When Bertie, the Duke of York, gives his first painful radio address in 1925, the only consolation is that he’s King George V’s second son… not the son who will become king. But still, the royal family needs to learn how to communicate with ordinary citizens over this new invention, the wireless. Bertie’s stutter is so serious it’s not just the radio that’s daunting. Many in the royal circle wonder if Bertie isn’t a bit simple-minded. A number of well respected elocution coaches have had no success taming the stutter.
The Duchess of York, masquerading as “Mrs. Johnson,” decides to interview a speech therapist, who claims to be able to tame a stutter. He wasn’t recommended by anyone in the royal circle. His work space is extremely humble, and the project looks totally unpromising. Furthermore, if Lionel Logue is to treat “Mr. Johnson,” it will be in Lionel’s humble studio… no exceptions. “My game, my trust, my rules,” Lionel insists. The Duke of York isn’t in the habit of being addressed as “Bertie” by anyone other than family. But Lionel insists that they will be “Bertie and Lionel,” or Lionel won’t work with the Duke. Nothing goes well, and Bertie wants nothing to do with this irreverent commoner. But before he storms out, Lionel bets Bertie a shilling that he (Bertie) “can speak flawlessly right now, right here,” and he records Bertie speaking on a Silvertone, a new invention from America.
If you watch the trailer or know a little bit of British history, you’ll know how the story ends. But getting to the end of this story isn’t the point; it’s the journey. And there are no better traveling companions than Colin Firth (Bertie) and Geoffrey Rush (Lionel). It’s an excellent script with interesting plot points and wonderful dialog. Lionel’s methods were highly unconventional at the time, so the journey was punctuated with many detours. Along the way, Bertie becomes King George VI, and public speaking becomes even more important and more fraught with anxiety. It’s a wonderful story, beautifully told.
4 popped kernels
Excellent script, beautifully acted… an enjoyable movie treat
Primary Audience: Grown-ups
Gender Appeal: Any audience
Distribution: Mainstream wide release
Tempo: Zips right along
Visual Style: High-end production
Social Significance: Informative