I went to see “The King’s Speech” this weekend.
It’s the best movie I’ve seen since “Gladiator”, and may possibly be the best movie I’ve ever seen in my life.
But then, I’m an English history nut.
I really didn’t know what to expect. I’m a big history buff, and knew of HRM King George VI’s speech impediment, but it isn’t something that is brought UP in history class often. It’s also something that the British Royal Family doesn’t talk about.
Based on a play by Mark Burgess, the film stars Colin Firth as King George VI, Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth – not the present one, but The Queen Mother as people of our generation knew her.
King George VI died the year I was born; 1952.
He was never supposed to be King, never wanted to be King, and probably disliked being such.
He lead his country through WW II, and the film starts with one of his earlier attempts as The Duke of York, second in line for the throne, stumbling through a speech – literally stumbling, it was a disaster.
His wife, Elizabeth, played by Bonham Carter and pictured as the Duchess of York below…
… realizing that he might have to speak publicly more often with the advent of radio, or “the wireless”, finds Lionel Logue, played brilliantly by Geoffrey Rush, a quirky, non-conventional speech therapist to help him.
Things don’t go well.
“The King’s Speech” takes the viewer inside the Royal Family of 1936 when the Old King, King George V is dying, Queen Mary is setting the tone for the “firm’s” behavior, and The Prince of Wales, future King Edward VIII and future Duke of Windsor is wreaking havoc along with – I’m sure she was once a man – Wallis Simpson. You can read an earlier post about her if you’d like by clicking here.
After David’s (King Edward VIII) abdication to marry “the woman he loved”, Bertie (King George VI) finds himself thrust UPon the throne at a time when the world is on the brink of war.
There’s drama everywhere. The movie’s climactic ending with the King’s triumphant radio broadcast advising the British people that they are at war with Germany, is to me, the most moving scene in a film since the one in “Secret Life Of Bees” when Lily tells August about killing her mother and says, “I’m bad, I’m bad, I’m unlovable.”
Its gut wrenching.
Firth deserves every award he’s nominated for for this film, and he’s already won several including the Golden Globe. Rush, is a very close second. They are both brilliant actors and make these two characters real and vunerable.
The film is very accurate with a few exceptions. Churchill’s role in the abdication crisis was not one of advising the Duke of York, but advising the King – he encouraged him not to abdicate – and the guy playing Churchill looks about as much like him as I do! The King and Mrs. Simpson’s sympathetic leanings toward Hitler are brushed over, and the British Government: Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, et al’s, policy of appeasement towards Hitler isn’t mentioned at all.
Nonetheless, it’s historical depiction of events, though crammed into a few years instead of ten (Seriously, who wants a movie that long?) are “on the money”.
The film is rated R. One word used several times in one scene along with the desire to get more people to see it brought the R rating. There is no sex, there are no drugs, there is no rock and roll, and there is very little swearing. The swearing scene is actually funny and really not offensive at all.
Don’t wait for the DVD
The movie’s a must see.