Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech” definitely establishes Colin Firth as one of the finest to come out of the UK. After a beautiful performance in last year’s “A Single Man”, Firth plays the role of the stammering king with such nervous grace that he makes it look effortless. Firth truly becomes King George VI in every way.
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). Through the process of curing Bertie’s ailment, Bertie and Lionel develop a deep bond. And with Lionel’s help Bertie gains confidence that helps him become the true leader he was.
More than anything else, the film is about the bond that these two men share. Despite being poles apart in education, stature and background. It is about a King’s faith in himself and his disability to voice it. It is an emotional drama with a historic backdrop and just the right amount of wit and repartee. But what makes “The King’s Speech” stand out is two solid actors and their heartwarming chemistry. Geoffrey Rush and Collin Firth waltz through their parts with perfection. Helena Bonham Carter plays a refreshingly warm and sympathetic character with conviction, much unlike her otherwise eccentric personality. “The King’s Speech” is the perfect example of everything from the screenplay to dialogue to cinematography to performances, all coming together to a fantastic outcome.
It probably is the kind of film that academies and juries all over the world would prefer. Feel good, historic, witty – it all works. But it was far too simplistic for me. I enjoyed it thoroughly and it’s easily one of the best movies of the year. But is it THE best? I don’t know. You watch, you decide.