Film Review - The King’s Speech
Rebecca McWattie reviews new London-set historical drama The King’s Speech,which tells the story of the man who became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stammer and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue. Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country through war.
I can’t recommend this film highly enough. Set in Thirties London, the perfect cast show us a touching, and often hugely amusing glimpse of Bertie’s - later George VI - struggle to overcome his stammer with the help of speech therapist Lionel Louge (Geoffrey Rush). From Helena Bonham Carter as the supportive Duchess of York to Timothy Spall making a respectable attempt at Winston Churchill, not one performance jars, not a line seems out of place.
Colin Firth makes a natural transition from his days at the BBC playing the aloof Mr Darcy to the insecure but proud Bertie, proving once again that he is more than worthy of his place on the big screen. This film is not just about overcoming obstacles but also focuses on beating your inner demons – a memorable scene shows Bertie’s frustration when he breaks into a swearing fit – beautifully handled and making the audience erupt into laughter.
Not only am I a period drama fanatic but an avid admirer of Geoffrey Rush. That man never ceases to amaze me, he always manages to pull in the viewer with a cheeky grin and a witty remark. He never shies away from taking a risk and we are instantly engaged with every character he plays. For me, although the rapport between Firth and Rush was obvious, Rush still managed to steel the show with another thunderingly convincing performance.
Young British director Tom Hooper has gone from directing episodes of Byker Grove and Eastenders to become a major player in Hollywood. The 2011 Oscar nominations will be announced on 25 January, and I for one will be hoping for at least a couple of nods to this hugely inspirational film.