Director: Tom Hooper
Writer: David Seidler (screenplay)
Stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter
Finding your voice.
“If I am King, where is my power? Can I declare war? Form a government? Levy a tax? No! And yet I am the seat of all authority because they think that when I speak, I speak for them.”
“The King's Speech” tells the story of the man who became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George ('Bertie') reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stammer and considered unfit to be king, following his wife's (Helena Bonham Carter) advice Bertie (Colin Firth) engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). 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.
That story actually happened and as seemingly little as the issue may be, the movie shows how serious it was in reality. England is declaring the war on Germany and it's King's duty to inform his people about it, with proper reassurance, comfort and plead for courage and strength. But first “Bertie”, shy and limited by his own skill to speak must find his own strength. The film focuses on how, gradually, Bertie, thanks to the support of his loving wife (Bonham Carter stars in a shockingly delicate and subtle role, comparing to her usual work that is) and his talented speech therapist, finds his own voice. The techniques Logue uses to diminish the stammer are often amusing and always creative and the collision of the Royal Highness and simple Australian man is thrilling to watch, mostly thanks to David Seidler's witty and smart dialogue.
As with most British dramas about royalty, the movie is deliciously subtle. There are so many tender and beautiful moments – the one that got imprinted in my memory the most is when Bertie plays the record Logue gave him and he discovers, that indeed, when he didn't hear himself he read flawlessly. His wife hears it too and she just stands there quietly, right behind him, overwhelmed with happiness and being proud of her husband. We're observing the family life of Bertie and Logue – they both love their wives and their kids immensely, we see private family moments and we marvel at those ordinary man, who in one case were born into extraordinary situation and with another born with amazing skill to help people overcome their weaknesses.
Logue is played by Geoffrey Rush, who is perfect for the part. Funny, whimsical and sympathetic Logue respects his student, even though his world is completely unknown to him. Their friendship is very beautiful – it doesn't matter how their lives look and what their duties are, what matters is that they are good people and in the end they found mutual respect and admiration, that as we found out in the end of the film, in reality lasted between them their entire lives.
It's not the movie as good and shocking as “Black Swan” or as flawlessly executed as “The Social Network”. But “The King's Speech” has so much heart and warmth in it, it is very hard not to marvel at that.