MPAA Rating: R/ Genre: Historical Drama/ Stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall, Derek Jacobi, Jennifer Ehle, Michael Gambon, Freya Wilson, Ramona Marquez, Patrick Ryecart, Simon Chandler, Claire Bloom/ Runtime: 118 minutes
An ever-increasing amount of sweat, knees buckling in fear, skin tingling as if stricken by Spider-Man’s spider sense, and lips constantly feeling drier than the Sahara desert may not be anything even remotely on the level of the terror that an impending war can bring to a man. Yet when a man is charged with being the leader of a nation headed into an inevitable conflict whilst also functioning as the primary voice of hope, sincerity, freedom, and truthfulness about the reality of their situation even though he is stricken with a severe stutter which could possibly be assumed to show weakness and terror rather than strength and unity you can see how the future might be a lot brighter if he is able to get it fixed. Thus is the idea behind the movie The King’s Speech. Indeed this film is the phenomenal true story of Britain’s King George VI, his rise to the throne, and the severe stutter that constantly robs him of both his assertiveness and any hope he has in being a proper leader; a problem that comes sharply into focus when he finds himself suddenly thrust onto the throne. Yet more than that, this film also manages to feature a cast of powerful performances, and a script that is absolutely spot-on all while providing the audience with the eternal truth that sometimes all you need to overcome the greatest of obstacles is a little grit, a little determination, and a truly loyal friend in your corner. Indeed it is with those things in mind that this film is able to truly become absolutely powerful as well as one of the finest films to come out of the year 2010.
The plot is as follows: The King’s Speech tells the story of Prince Albert, second son of English King George V. When our story opens, it is the year 1925 and Albert is chosen to give a speech at the end of the Empire Exhibition in front of a giant crowd whilst also being broadcast courtesy of a “new technological advancement” known as “radio.” However things go awry when the Prince, who is stricken with a severe stutter that is only made worse when faced with an audience absolutely blunders the whole thing. Thus, in order to avoid another incident of this magnitude from ever occurring, his wife Elizabeth seeks the aid of countless specialists in the field of speech therapy. Yet it isn’t until she visits a noted expert in the field by the name of Lionel Logue that we sense that she might have found the one man who can help her husband not just fix his ailment, but also help him uncover just why it exists in the first place. Yet despite that, it isn’t too much of a spoiler to say that when Lionel and Albert first meet they don’t exactly get along that well; in fact they seem predestined to once again fail to cure Albert. However when Albert, albeit with great reluctance, listens to a recording Lionel made during their session of him actually being able to read Shakespeare quite articulately and with no stutter to be found, he finds himself humbly returning for further treatment. However whilst the Prince attempts to regain control of his speech, a perfect storm comprised of both a scandal in the royal family and the terror of a global conflict quickly propel him into a position where the fate of his countrymen, and quite possibly the globe, might just depend on how well he is able to vocalize just where England stands in regards to the conflict that would come to be known as World War 2…..
Now The King’s Speech may seem like it is only about one man’s hunt for his distinct voice, but this is a much more complex, increasingly more powerful, and incredibly more emotional movie than one that focuses on a stereotypical relationship between a patient and his therapist. That is because The King’s Speech is also, to quite a significant amount, about the ideas not only of destiny, but also about what we as people can do in order to live up to rather than shy away from defining moments no matter when they come into our lives. In addition, it’s also about reaching down deep to find the best one can achieve. Yet even if that “best” isn’t what everyone else desires, it’s the will power, the attempt, and just plain aspiration to be better than what we are when no one is willing to give us the opportunity to do that matters the most. Indeed it is also about locating a purpose and combating for something much more significant than just the ability to speak articulately. That something would be the confrontation to acquire honor, regard, and gratification. Not exactly in accomplishing something spotlessly, but in just doing it to as best as one possibly could. Indeed this is what defines us as people for truly not everyone is a brilliant orator, a gifted artist, or a productive writer. Yet the only thing at the end of the day that truly matters is just the simple act of trying whilst also recognizing our limitations and fighting till the fight is done for that little bit of improvement in a given area. Indeed this is something that is worth significantly more to a person more often than just being able to do something “perfectly” since the day they were born or so it feels. On the other side of the coin, or when you choose to look at the narrative through the perspective of Geoffrey Rush’s character, I also feel that The King’s Speech is a wonderful lesson in the incredible powers of accepting others, understanding where other people come from, and being patient with others no matter how much they may frustrate you; powers that I feel are of the utmost important regardless of who you are interacting with in this world. This film therefore is a rousing salute to every single person out there who has devoted their life to serving others be it in helping someone find their voice and their assertiveness or in an equally as crucial undertaking. Yet while the majority of these individuals sadly do not get as much appreciation in the history books or in the movies as they rightfully should be, they are all just as integral in the real world as the tale of King George VI and Lionel Logue is to world history at that particular period of time and beyond.
Now as to the bigger picture that this film is trying to showcase, it is my opinion that The King’s Speech manages to do a wonderful job of providing audiences with an inspiringly distinct look at an important figure in world history. Indeed the reason it is so distinct is because the film chooses to showcase a weakness rather than the typical strengths. A feat that, through the terrific performances, might just be this film’s most crucial positive. Indeed very few movies in the Drama genre and even fewer historical dramas really are given this kind of opportunity. Thus by making the movie about conquering a failure rather than taking a victory lap on a triumph, the film is able to place more gravitas than usual on the message behind the narrative. A message that says no matter what ailment has stricken a person, the ability to treat that person with friendship, integrity, confidence, and belief that they can overcome the obstacle is just as integral to the healing process as anything. Thus this film also manages to serve as a glorious tribute to each and every person who has struggled to do something that the vast majority of us usually take for granted each and every day regardless of what that thing may be. Indeed The King’s Speech, if anything, should inspire by showing that through the utilization of the more positive virtues of our species can humanity hope to triumph over both preset expectations as well as the limits that we have set upon ourselves. Indeed to live and to triumph should not be determined by the idea of perfection, but rather through both how much effort we’re willing to put in and how hard we are willing to work. It is my opinion therefore that The King’s Speech should be an absolutely essential viewing experience for whenever we find ourselves struggling in the game of life since I feel that what this film says about improvement and true success is something we all need to know. Not only that, but the idea that even those who in positions of immense power and responsibility need help from time to time in finding their voice as well is truly one of the most powerful messages that I have yet encountered in a film.
Finally, I feel I should also point out the absolutely phenomenal achievements from a technical and acting standpoint that really help turn this film into the iconic and seemingly instant masterpiece that it is. For starters I feel that the production design on this film from the gorgeous royal attire to the office utilized by Logue is absolutely astounding. Indeed no matter what is going on in this film or who is on screen the film always feels quite accommodating. Yet even though the wonderful work from the cinematography department as well as strong yet steady work from the director may aid in the construction of this masterpiece, it is in this film’s truly iconic performances, with particular regard to the ones from Rush and Firth, that really make this movie the iconic film that it truly is. Indeed, on his end of things, Firth is absolutely terrific and manages to give audiences a truly iconic performance. Indeed his handle on the role as well as the crucial peculiarities that come packaged with it is completely phenomenal. The fact that he can showcase the stammer not just by mastering broken English, but enhance it through a terrified posture, fear ever-present in his eyes, and subtle movements where although his mind has begun to speak yet somewhere from there to his mouth, his vocal chords find themselves being taken prisoner by anxiety out of fear of failure is absolutely incredible. Indeed the movie’s opening of an anxiety-stricken to the point of terror Prince Albert trying in vain to deliver some remarks at Wembley Stadium manages to set the entire vibe for the film right off the bat by showing that neither the narrative nor the performances that will be an integral part of it will be anything less than wonderful and unique in equal measure. Indeed the director of the film Mr. Tom Hooper manages with artistic skill and class to bring the audience into the film with the Prince’s constant stumbles and follies in his speech. An aspect that is then capitalized on by Firth nailing the peculiarities and director Hooper managing to distinctly set up the subtle terror within the narrative by finding ways to put both the Prince’s mouth and a microphone together at specific points in the movie. Yet just as amazing in his role of Lionel Logue is Geoffrey Rush. Indeed Rush manages to portray this character with a wonderful mixture of both determination and a self-confidence that manages to transform into an incredible friendship with the future King George VI. Not only that, but the back-and-forth between our dynamic duo is absolutely incredible. Indeed they manage to annihilate every minute of screen time they get together with such assertiveness and skill plus their performances are so well-done plus add so much to the film and the concepts it is showcasing that the whole movie manages to merge together into a true masterclass of movie making that more films should truly aspire to be.
All in all The King’s Speech is a truly phenomenal cinematic experience about a man being able to find his voice at a time when the world truly did need it the most. Yet this is only the plot as may be seen if only looked at on surface-level. That is because should one look deeper they will also find some deeper yet also universal concepts in play. Concepts that include the treasure of friendship, the power of confidence, the true value of self-worth, and the joys that love, respect, and hard work can bring to one’s life. Indeed these are all brilliantly showcased in this moving yet also quite potent masterpiece that is sure to reach any viewer who has had to unfortunately struggle with any conflicts of a physical, psychological, or emotional nature and then had to fight tooth and nail to overcome them. Indeed, as backed up by a quippy, emotional, and confident script to say nothing of the powerful directing work, the phenomenal sets and costume work, and the incredible performances from a truly iconic cast all work together to make The King’s Speech not only a truly incredible viewing experience, but also a modern triumph that is equipped with eternal values and an everlasting message that is destined to exist and thrive for years and years to come. On a scale of 1-5 I give The King’s Speech a solid 4.5 out of 5.