The King’s SpeechPosted: November 16, 2011
The King’s Speech – “I don’t care how many royal assholes have sat in this chair.” The King’s Speech was a brilliant surprise. Expecting a rather stuffy movie, the interaction of the characters was amazing and brilliantly played with numerous comedic moments tied to the drama of the King’s pain. Colin Firth is incredible as Bertie (aka King George VI) and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue left you wanting more. Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth ties everyone together for the story. The storyline is obvious, but the movie is about relationships. The relationships of Bertie (King George VI) & Lionel Logue, Bertie & Queen Elizabeth (wife), Bertie & King Edward VIII (brother), and Bertie & Bertie (his inner issues) are all entangled and critical to the movie. The close ups and facial expressions display the emotions as the lines are stated and you feel the characters more than following the plot. However, there are numerous subplots throughout the film that will keep you enticed as well. Rated 95% at Rotten Tomatoes, 4.5 stars at Amazon.com, & winner of 4 Oscars certifies this as a great film
Plot – The plot is that Prince Albert, Duke of York (Firth) is trying to give a speech and is stammering. His wife Elizabeth (Carter) visits Lionel Logue (Rush) to ask his assistance. Logue doesn’t recognize her as royalty and is somehwhat rude until he discovers who is the new “student”. Albert reluctantly goes, but does so for his wife. Logue challenges him and even breaks royal etiquette calling him by Bertie (his birth name). He doesn’t believe in Logue until a tactic used shows Albert promise of improvement. He continues the eccentric treatments. King George V dies and Albert’s older brother is now King Edward VIII, but he is a playboy and only follows his desires to the dismay of Bertie. Bertie is more “kingly” and concerned with the Royal responsibilities. When King Edward VIII falls in love with a divorced American, he must abdicate the thrown. Bertie is now King George VI. Bertie is now terrified as he has the mind of a king, but has lost his resolve due to his speech impediment. However, he continues improving. But, politics are at work. As Bertie believes in Logue, his priest determines Logue doesn’t have “credentials”, but King George VI sticks with him after Logue challenges his authority again. Unfortunately, the world is spiraling toward WWII and King George VI must make probably the most critical speech of his life. Logue helps him trough and unleashes the King within.
Commentary – From the title, you can guess the story or you will understand it very quickly, but it is the relationships and subplots that keep this movie interesting. Guy Pearce is excellent as hedonistic King Edward VIII and antagonist to his brother. The story within the story is told through expressions as much as through the spoken word. Rush was outstanding and can deliver so much through such a short statement. In addition, the movie provides a different view of the royal family and even made me question their relevance. This could be due to my being an American and anti-King anyway, but the humanistic qualities, fears, and even uncaring nature by most of the royal family will likely make you think the same. Regardless, it’s a brilliant film. It’s probably more suited for an adult audience as younger viewers might not appreciate the mature story and there is some profanity, but this is one film that should not be missed.
Trivia – Throughout the film, Logue doesn’t let Bertie smoke saying, “sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you”. Due to increased smoking from the stress of WWII, King George VI died of lung cancer in 1952. Humerously, the film has an Australian actor (Pearce) playing a Brit, a British actor (Best) playing an American, and an American actor (Ehle) playing an Australian. Finally, despite Lionel’s insistance that Bertie call him by his first name, Bertie never actually does in the film.
** Just click the images to check out “The King’s Speech” at Amazon.com **